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Title: Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V2

Author: Jacob Dolson Cox

Release Date: November, 2004  [EBook #6962]
[This file was first posted on February 17, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

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MILITARY REMINISCENCES
OF THE CIVIL WAR

BY

JACOB DOLSON COX, A.M., LL.D.

Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps

VOLUME II.

NOVEMBER 1863-JUNE 1865


CONTENTS

CHAPTER XXVII

GRANT IN COMMAND--ROSECRANS RELIEVED

Importance of unity in command--Inevitable difficulties in a double organization--Burnside's problem different from that of Rosecrans--Co-operation necessarily imperfect--Growth of Grant's reputation--Solid grounds of it--Special orders sent him--Voyage to Cairo--Meets Stanton at Louisville--Division of the Mississippi created--It included Burnside's and Rosecrans's departments--Alternate forms in regard to Rosecrans--He is relieved--Thomas succeeds him--Grant's relations to the change--His intellectual methods--Taciturnity--Patience--Discussions in his presence--Clear judgments--His "good anecdote"--Rosecrans sends Garfield to Washington--Congressman or General--Duplication of offices--Interview between Garfield and Stanton--Dana's dispatches--Garfield's visit to me--Description of the rout of Rosecrans's right wing--Effect on the general--Retreat to Chattanooga--Lookout Mountain abandoned--The President's problem--Dana's light upon it--Stanton's use of it--Grant's acquiescence--Subsequent relations of Garfield and Rosecrans--Improving the "cracker line"--Opening the Tennessee--Combat at Wauhatchie.

CHAPTER XXVIII

SIEGE OF KNOXVILLE--END OF BURNSIDE'S CAMPAIGN

Departments not changed by Grant--Sherman assigned to that of the Tennessee--Burnside's situation and supplies--His communications--Building a railroad--Threatened from Virginia--His plans--Bragg sends Longstreet into East Tennessee--Their cross-purposes--Correspondence of Grant and Burnside--Dana and Wilson sent to consult--Grant approves Burnside's course--Latter slowly retires on Knoxville--The place prepared for a siege--Combat at Campbell's station--Within the lines at Knoxville--Topography of the place--Defences--Assignment of positions--The forts--General Sanders killed--His self-sacrifice--Longstreet's lines of investment--His assault of Fort Sanders--The combat--The repulse--The victory at Missionary Ridge and results--Division of Confederate forces a mistake--Grant sends Sherman to raise the siege of Knoxville--East Tennessee a "horror"--Longstreet retreats toward Virginia--Sherman rejoins Grant--Granger's unwillingness to remain--General Foster sent to relieve Burnside--Criticism of this act--Halleck's misunderstanding of the real situation--Grant's easy comprehension of it--His conduct in enlarged responsibility--General Hunter's inspection report.

CHAPTER XXIX

AFFAIRS IN DISTRICT OF OHIO--PLOT TO LIBERATE PRISONERS AT JOHNSON'S ISLAND

Administrative duties--Major McLean adjutant-general--His loyalty questioned--Ordered away--Succeeded by Captain Anderson--Robert Anderson's family--Vallandigham canvass--Bounty-jumping--Action of U. S. Courts--of the local Probate Court--Efforts to provoke collision--Interview with the sheriff--Letter to Governor Tod--Shooting soldiers in Dayton--The October election--Great majority against Vallandigham--The soldier vote--Wish for field service--Kinglake's Crimean War--Its lessons--Confederate plots in Canada--Attempt on military prison at Johnson's Island--Assembling militia there--Fortifying Sandusky Bay--Inspection of the prison--Condition and treatment of the prisoners.

CHAPTER XXX

A WINTER RIDE ON THE CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS

Ordered to East Tennessee--Preparation for a long ride--A small party of officers--Rendezvous at Lexington, Ky.--Changes in my staff--The escort--A small train--A gay cavalcade--The blue-grass country--War-time roads--Valley of the Rockcastle--Quarters for the night--London--Choice of routes-Longstreet in the way--A turn southward--Williamsburg--Meeting Burnside--Fording the Cumberland--Pine Mountain--A hard pull--Teamsters' chorus--Big Creek Gap--First view of East Tennessee--Jacksboro--A forty-mile trot--Escape from unwelcome duty--In command of Twenty-third Corps--The army-supply problem--Siege bread--Starved beef--Burnside's dinner to Sherman.

CHAPTER XXXI

WINTER BIVOUACS IN EAST TENNESSEE

Blain's Cross-roads--Hanson's headquarters--A hearty welcome--Establishing field quarters--Tents and houses--A good quartermaster--Headquarters' business--Soldiers' camps--Want of clothing and shoes--The rations--Running the country mills--Condition of horses and mules--Visit to Opdycke's camp--A Christmas dinner--Veteran enlistments--Patriotic spirit--Detachment at Strawberry Plains--Concentration of corps there--Camp on a knoll--A night scene--Climate of the valley--Affair at Mossy Creek--New Year's blizzard--Pitiful condition of the troops--Patience and courage--Zero weather.

CHAPTER XXXII

GRANT'S VISIT--THE DANDRIDGE AFFAIR

Grant at Knoxville--Comes to Strawberry Plains--A gathering at Parke's quarters--Grant's quiet manner--No conversational discussion--Contrast with Sherman--Talk of cadet days--Grant's riding-school story--No council of war--Qualities of his dispatches--Returns by Cumberland Gap--Longstreet's situation--Destitution of both armies--Railroad repairs and improved service--Light-draught steamboats--Bridges--Cattle herds on the way--Results of Grant's inspection tour--Foster's movement to Dandridge on the French Broad--Sheridan--His qualities--August Willich--Hazen--His disagreement with Sheridan--Its causes and consequences--Combat at Dandridge--A mutual surprise--Sheridan's bridge--An amusing blunder--A consultation in Dandridge--Sturgis's toddy--Retreat to Strawberry Plains--A hard night march--A rough day--An uncomfortable bivouac--Concentration toward Knoxville--Rumors of reinforcement of Longstreet--Expectation of another siege--The rumors untrue.


CHAPTER XXXIII

WINTER QUARTERS IN EAST TENNESSEE--PREPARATIONS FOR a NEW CAMPAIGN

Sending our animals to Kentucky--Consultations--Affair with enemy's cavalry--Roughing it--Distribution of troops--Cavalry engagement at Sevierville--Quarters in Knoxville--Leading Loyalists--Social and domestic conditions--Discussion of the spring campaign--Of Foster's successor--Organization of Grant's armies--Embarrassments in assignment of officers to duty--Discussion of the system-Cipher telegraphing--Control of the key--Grant's collision with Stanton--Absurdity of the War Department's method--General Stoneman assigned to Twenty-third Corps--His career and character--General Schofield succeeds to the command of the Department of the Ohio.

CHAPTER XXXIV

SCHOFIELD IN EAST TENNESSEE---DUTIES AS CHIEF OF STAFF--FINAL OPERATIONS IN THE VALLEY

Fresh reports of Longstreet's advance--They are unfounded--Grant's wish to rid the valley of the enemy--Conference with Foster--Necessity for further recuperation of the army--Continuance of the quiet policy--Longstreet's view of the situation--His suggestions to his government--He makes an advance again-Various demonstrations--Schofield moves against Longstreet--My appointment as chief of staff in the field--Organization of the active column--Schofield's purposes--March to Morristown--Going the Grand Rounds--Cavalry outpost--A sleepy sentinel--Return to New Market--Once more at Morristown--Ninth Corps sent East--Grant Lieutenant-General--Sherman commands in the West--Study of plans of campaign--My assignment to Third Division, Twenty-third Corps--Importance of staff duties--Colonel Wherry and Major Campbell--General Wood--Schofield and the politicians--Post at Bull's Gap--Grapevine telegraph--Families going through the lines--Local vendetta--The Sanitary Commission--Rendezvous assigned by Sherman--Preliminary movements--Marching to Georgia--A spring camp on the Hiwassee--The Atlanta campaign begun.

CHAPTER XXXV

GRANT, HALLECK, AND SHERMAN--JOHNSTON AND MR. DAVIS

Grant's desire for activity in the winter--Scattering to live--Subordinate movements--The Meridian expedition--Use of the Mississippi--Sherman's estimate of it--Concentration to be made in the spring--Grant joins the Potomac Army--Motives in doing so--Meade as an army commander--Halleck on concentration--North Carolina expedition given up--Burnside to join Grant--Old relations of Sherman and Halleck--Present cordial friendship--Frank correspondence--The supply question--Railway administration--Bridge defences--Reduction of baggage--Tents--Sherman on spies and deserters--Changes in Confederate army--Bragg relieved--Hardee--Beauregard--Johnston--Davis's suggestion of plans--Correspondence with Johnston--Polk's mediation--Characteristics--Bragg's letters--Lee writes Longstreet--Johnston's dilatory discussion--No results--Longstreet joins Lee--Grant and Sherman have the initiative--Prices in the Confederacy.

CHAPTER XXXVI

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: DALTON AND RESACA

The opposing forces--North Georgia triangle--Topography--Dalton--Army of the Ohio enters Georgia--Positions of the other armies--Turning Tunnel Hill--First meeting with Sherman--Thomas--Sherman's plan as to Dalton--McPherson's orders and movement--Those of Thomas and Schofield--Hopes of a decisive engagement--Thomas attacks north end of Rocky Face--Opdycke on the ridge--Developing Johnston's lines--Schofield's advance on 9th May--The flanking march through Snake Creek Gap--Retiring movement of my division--Passing lines--Johnston's view of the situation--Use of temporary intrenchments and barricades--Passing the Snake Creek defile-Camp Creek line--A wheel in line--Rough march of left flank--Battle of Resaca--Crossing Camp Creek--Storming Confederate line--My division relieved by Newton's--Incidents--Further advance of left flank--Progress of right flank--Johnston retreats.

CHAPTER XXXVII

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: ADVANCE TO THE ETOWAH

Tactics modified by character of the country--Use of the spade--Johnston's cautious defensive--Methods of Grant and Sherman--Open country between Oostanaula and Etowah--Movement in several columns--Sherman's eagerness--Route of left wing--Of McPherson on the right--Necessity of exact system in such marches--Route of Twenty-third Corps--Hooker gets in the way--Delays occasioned--Closing in on Cassville--Our commanding position--Johnston's march to Cassville--His order to fight there--Protest of Hood and Polk--Retreat over the Etowah--Sherman crosses near Kingston--My reconnoissance to the Allatoona crossing--Destruction of iron works and mills--Marching without baggage--Barbarism of war--Desolation it causes--Changes in our corps organization--Hascall takes Judah's division--Our place of crossing the Etowah--Interference again--Kingston the new base--Rations--Camp coffee.

CHAPTER XXXVIII

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: NEW HOPE CHURCH AND THE KENNESAW LINES

Sherman's plan for June--Movements of 24th May-Johnston's position at Dallas and New Hope Church--We concentrate to attack--Pickett's Mill--Dallas--Flanking movements--Method developed by the character of the country--Closer personal relations to Sherman--Turning Johnston's right--Crossroads at Burnt Church-A tangled forest--Fighting in a thunderstorm--Sudden freshet--Bivouac in a thicket---Johnston retires to a new line--Formidable character of the old one--Sherman extends to the railroad on our left--Blair's corps joins the army--General Hovey's retirement--The principles involved--Politics and promotions.

CHAPTER XXXIX

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: MARIETTA LINES--CROSSING THE CHATTAHOOCHEE

Continuous rains in June--Allatoona made a field depot on the railway and fortified--Johnston in the Marietta lines--That from Pine Mountain to Lost Mountain abandoned--Swinging our right flank--Affair at Kolb's farm--Preparing for a general attack--Battle of Kennesaw-The tactical problem--Work of my division--Topography about Cheney's--Our advance on the 27th--Nickajack valley reached--The army moves behind us--Johnston retreats to the Chattahoochee--Twenty-third Corps at Smyrna Camp-ground--Crossing the Chattahoochee at Soap Creek--At Roswell--Johnston again retreats--Correspondence with Davis--Mission of B. H. Hill--Visit of Bragg to Johnston--Johnston's unfortunate reticence--He is relieved and Hood placed in command--Significance of the change to the Confederacy and to us.

CHAPTER XL

HOOD'S DEFENCE OF ATLANTA--RESULTS OF ITS CAPTURE

Lines of supply by field trains--Canvas pontoons--Why replaced by bridges--Wheeling toward Atlanta--Battle of Peachtree Creek--Battle of Atlanta--Battle of Ezra Church--Aggressive spirit of Confederates exhausted--Sherman turns Atlanta by the south--Pivot position of Twenty-third Corps--Hood's illusions--Rapidity of our troops in intrenching--Movements of 31st August--Affair at Jonesboro--Atlanta won--Morale of Hood's army--Exaggerating difference in numbers--Examination of returns--Efforts to bring back absentees--The sweeping conscription--Sherman's candid estimates--Unwise use of cavalry--Forrest's work--Confederate estimate of Sherman's campaign.

CHAPTER XLI

THE REST AT ATLANTA--STAFF ORGANIZATION AND CHANGES

Position of the Army of the Ohio at Decatur--Refitting for a new campaign--Depression of Hood's army--Sherman's reasons for a temporary halt--Fortifying Atlanta as a new base--Officers detailed for the political campaign-Schofield makes inspection tour of his department--My temporary command of the Army of the Ohio--Furloughs and leaves of absence--Promotions of several colonels--General Hascall resigns--Staff changes--My military family--Anecdote of Lieutenant Tracy--Discipline of the army--Sensitiveness to approval or blame--Illustration--Example of skirmishing advance--Sufferings of non-combatants within our lines--A case in point--Pillaging and its results--Citizens passing through the lines--"The rigors of the climate"--Visit of Messrs. Hill and Foster--McPherson's death--The loss to Sherman and to the army--His personal traits--Appointment of his successor.

CHAPTER XLII

CAMPAIGN OF OCTOBER--HOOD MOVES UPON OUR COMMUNICATIONS

Hood's plan to transfer the campaign to northern Georgia--Made partly subordinate to Beauregard--Forrest on a raid--Sherman makes large detachments--Sends Thomas to Tennessee--Hood across the Chattahoochee--Sherman follows--Affair at Allatoona--Planning the March to the Sea--Sherman at Rome--Reconnoissance down the Coosa--Hood at Resaca--Sherman in pursuit--Hood retreats down the Chattooga valley--We follow in two columns--Concentrate at Gaylesville--Beauregard and Hood at Gadsden--Studying the situation--Thomas's advice--Schofield rejoins--Conference regarding the Twenty-third Corps--Hood marches on Decatur--His explanation of change of plan--Sherman marches back to Rome--We are ordered to join Thomas--Hood repulsed at Decatur marches to Tuscumbia--Our own march begun--Parting with Sherman--Dalton--Chattanooga--Presidential election--Voting by steam--Retrospect of October camp-life--Camp sports--Soldiers' pets--Story of a lizard.

CHAPTER XLIII

NASHVILLE CAMPAIGN--HOOD'S ADVANCE FROM THE TENNESSEE

Schofield to command the army assembled at Pulaski--Forrest's Tennessee River raid--Schofield at Johnsonville--My division at Thompson's--Hastening reinforcements to Thomas--Columbia--The barrens--Pulaski--Hood delays--Suggests Purdy as a base--He advances from Florence--Our march to Columbia--Thomas's distribution of the forces--Decatur evacuated--Pontoon bridge there--Withdrawing from Columbia--Posts between Nashville and Chattanooga--The cavalry on 29th November--Their loss of touch with the army.

CHAPTER XLIV

NASHVILLE-HOOD'S ARMY ROUTED

Defensive works of Nashville--Hood's lines--The ice blockade--Halleck on remounts for cavalry--Pressing horses and its abuse--The cavalry problem--Changes in organization--Assignment of General Couch--Confederate cavalry at Nashville--Counter-movements of our own--Detailed movements of our right--Difference of recollection between Schofield and Wilson--The field dispatches--Carrying Hood's works--Confederate rout.

CHAPTER XLV

PURSUIT OF HOOD--END OF THE CAMPAIGN

Night after the battle--Unusual exposure--Hardships of company officers--Bad roads--Halt at Franklin--Visiting the battlefield--Continued pursuit--Decatur reoccupied--Hood at Tupelo, Miss.--Summary of captures--Thomas suggests winter-quarters--Grant orders continued activity--Schofield's proposal to move the corps to the East--Grant's correspondence with Sherman--Schofield's suggestion adopted--Illness--I ask for "sick-leave"--Do not use it--Promotion--Reinforcements--March from Columbia to Clifton--Columns on different roads--Western part of the barrens--Fording Buffalo River--An illumined camp--Dismay of the farmer--Clifton on the Tennessee--Admiral Lee--Methods of transport--Weary waiting--Private grumbling--Ordered East--Revulsion of spirits--On the transport fleet--Thomas's frame of mind at close of the campaign.

CHAPTER XLVI

CAMPAIGN IN NORTH CAROLINA--CAPTURE OF WILMINGTON

Rendezvous at Washington--Capture of Fort Fisher--Schofield ordered to North Carolina--Grant and Schofield visit Terry--Department of North Carolina--Army of the Ohio in the field--Correspondence of Grant and Sherman--Sherman conscious of his risks but hopeful of great results--His plan of march from Savannah--Relation of Wilmington to New Berne--Our arrival at Washington--The Potomac frozen--Peace conference at Fort Monroe--Interview with Mr. Stanton--The thirteenth amendment of the Constitution--Political excitement at the capital--A little dinner-party--Garfield, H. W. Davis, and Schenck--Davis on Lincoln--Destination of our army--Embarkation--Steamship "Atlantic"--Visit to Fort Monroe--The sea-voyage--Cape Fear Inlet--General Terry's lines--Bragg the Confederate commander--Reconnoitring his lines--The colored troops--"Monitor" engaged with Fort Anderson--Alternate plans--Marching on Wilmington by the west bank of the river--My column opposite the town--Orders not applicable to the situation--Difficulty of communication--Use of discretion--Wilmington evacuated--A happy result.

CHAPTER XLVII

THE CONFEDERACY IN STRAITS--JOHNSTON COMMANDS IN THE CAROLINAS--OUR OPERATIONS FROM NEW BERNE--BATTLE OF KINSTON

The Confederates lose Charleston and Columbia--Facing a crisis--Hopeless apathy of Southern people--Mr. Davis's perplexity--Beauregard startles him--Lee calls Johnston to command--Personal relations of leading officers--Dwindling armies--The cavalry--Assignments of generals--The Beaufort and New Berne line--Am ordered to New Berne--Provisional corps--Advance to cover railway building--Dover and Gum swamps--Bragg concentrates to oppose us--Position near Kinston--Bragg's plan of attack--Our own movements--Condition of railroad and river--Our advance to Wise's Forks and Southwest Creek--Precautions--Conference with Schofield--Battle of Kinston--Enemy attack our left front--Rout of Upham's brigade--Main line firm--Ruger's division reaches the field Enemy repulsed--End of first day's fight--Extending our trenches on the left--Sharp skirmishing of the 9th--Bragg's reinforcements--His attack of the 10th--Final repulse and retreat of the enemy.

CHAPTER XLVIII

JUNCTION WITH SHERMAN AT GOLDSBOROUGH--THE MARCH ON RALEIGH--CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES

Occupation of Kinston--Opening of Neuse River--Rebel ram destroyed--Listening to the distant battle at Bentonville--Entering Goldsborough--Meeting Sherman--Grant's congratulations--His own plans--Sketch of Sherman's march--Lee and Johnston's correspondence--Their gloomy outlook--Am made commandant of Twenty-third Corps--Terry assigned to Tenth--Schofield promoted in the Regular Army--Stanton's proviso--Ill effects of living on the country--Stopping it in North Carolina--Camp jubilee over the fall of Richmond--Changes in Sherman's plans--Our march on Smithfield--House-burning--News of Lee's surrender--Overtures from Governor Vance--Entering Raleigh--A mocking-bird's greeting--Further negotiations as to North Carolina--Johnston proposes an armistice--Broader scope of negotiations--The Southern people desire peace--Terrors of non-combatants assuaged--News of Lincoln's assassination--Precautions to preserve order--The dawn of peace.

CHAPTER XLIX

THE SHERMAN-JOHNSTON CONVENTION

Sherman's earlier views of the slavery question--Opinions in 1864--War rights vs. statesmanship--Correspondence with Halleck--Conference with Stanton at Savannah--Letter to General Robert Anderson--Conference with Lincoln at City Point--First effect of the assassination of the President--Situation on the Confederate side--Davis at Danville--Cut off from Lee--Goes to Greensborough--Calls Johnston to conference--Lee's surrender--The Greensborough meeting--Approach of Stoneman's cavalry raid--Vance's deputation to Sherman--Davis orders their arrest--Vance asserts his loyalty--Attempts to concentrate Confederate forces on the Greensborough-Charlotte line--Cabinet meeting--Overthrow of the Confederacy acknowledged--Davis still hopeful--Yields to the cabinet--Dictates Johnston's letter to Sherman--Sherman's reply--Meeting arranged--Sherman sends preliminary correspondence to Washington--The Durham meeting--The negotiations--Two points of difficulty--Second day's session--Johnston's power to promise the disbanding of the civil government--The terms agreed upon--Transmittal letters--Assembling the Virginia legislature--Sherman's wish to make explicit declaration of the end of slavery--The assassination affecting public sentiment--Sherman's personal faith in Johnston--He sees the need of modifying the terms--Grant's arrival.

CHAPTER L

THE SECOND SHERMAN-JOHNSTON CONVENTION--SURRENDER

Davis's last cabinet meeting--Formal opinions approving the "Basis"--"The Confederacy is conquered"--Grant brings disapproval from the Johnston administration--Sherman gives notice of the termination of the truce--No military disadvantage from it--Sherman's vindication of himself--Grant's admirable conduct--Johnston advises Davis to yield--Capitulation assented to, but a volunteer cavalry force to accompany Davis's flight--A new conference at Durham--Davis's imaginary treasure--Grant's return to Washington--Terms of the parole given by Johnston's army--The capitulation complete--Schofield and his army to carry out the details--The rest of Sherman's army marches north--His farewell to Johnston--Order announcing the end of the war--Johnston's fine reply--Stanton's strange dispatch to the newspapers--Its tissue of errors--Its baseless objections--Sherman's exasperation--Interference with his military authority over his subordinates--Garbling Grant's dispatch--Sherman strikes back--Breach between Sherman and Halleck--It also grew out of the published matter--Analysis of the facts--My opinion as recorded at the time.

CHAPTER LI

PAROLING AND DISBANDING JOHNSTON'S ARMY--CLOSING SCENES OF THE WAR IN NORTH CAROLINA

General Schofield's policy when left in command--Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in force--Davis's line of flight from Charlotte, N. C.--Wade Hampton's course of conduct--Fate of the cabinet officers--Bragg, Wheeler, and Cooper--Issuing paroles to Johnston and his army--Greensborough in my district--Going there with Schofield--Hardee meets and accompanies us--Comparing memories--We reach Johnston's headquarters--Condition of his army--Our personal interview with him--The numbers of his troops--His opinion of Sherman's army--Of the murder of Lincoln--Governor Morehead's home--The men in gray march homeward--Incident of a flag--The Salisbury prison site--Treatment of prisoners of war--Local government in the interim--Union men--Elements of new strife--The negroes--Household service--Wise dealing with the labor question--No money--Death of manufactures--Necessity the mother of invention--Uses of adversity--Peace welcomed--Visit to Greene's battle-field at Guilford-Old-Court-House.


APPENDIX  C

INDEX





MILITARY REMINISCENCES
OF THE CIVIL WAR



CHAPTER XXVII

GRANT IN COMMAND--ROSECRANS RELIEVED

Importance of unity in command--Inevitable difficulties in a double organization--Burnside's problem different from that of Rosecrans--Cooperation necessarily imperfect--Growth of Grant's reputation--Solid grounds of it--Special orders sent him--Voyage to Cairo--Meets Stanton at Louisville--Division of the Mississippi created--It included Burnside's and Rosecrans's departments--Alternate forms in regard to Rosecrans--He is relieved--Thomas succeeds him--Grant's relations to the change--His intellectual methods--Taciturnity--Patience--Discussions in his presence--Clear judgments--His "good anecdote"--Rosecrans sends Garfield to Washington--Congressman or General--Duplication of offices--Interview between Garfield and Stanton--Dana's dispatches--Garfield's visit to me--Description of the rout of Rosecrans's right wing--Effect on the general--Retreat to Chattanooga--Lookout Mountain abandoned--The President's problem--Dana's light upon it--Stanton's use of it--Grant's acquiescence--Subsequent relations of Garfield and Rosecrans--Improving the "cracker line"--Opening the Tennessee--Combat at Wauhatchie.

It is very evident that, at the close of September, Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton had become satisfied that a radical change must be made in the organization of the Western armies. The plan of sending separate armies to co-operate, as Rosecrans's and Burnside's had been expected to do, was in itself vicious. It is, after a fashion, an attempt of two to ride a horse without one of them riding behind. Each will form a plan for his own army, as indeed he ought to do, and when one of them thinks the time has come for help from the other, that other may be out of reach or committed to operations which cannot readily be dropped. It is almost axiomatic that in any one theatre of operations there must be one head to direct. [Footnote: Napoleon used to ridicule the vicious practice of subdividing armies in the same theatre of war. He called it putting them up in small parcels, "des petits paquets." Memoirs of Gouvion St.-Cyr, vol. iv.]

The official correspondence of the summer shows a constantly growing faith in Grant. His great success at Vicksburg gave him fame and prestige, but there was beside this a specific effect produced on the President and the War Department by his unceasing activity, his unflagging zeal, his undismayed courage. He was as little inclined to stop as they at Washington were inclined to have him. He was as ready to move as they were to ask it, and anticipated their wish. He took what was given him and did the best he could with it. The result was that the tone adopted toward him was very different from that used with any other commander. It was confidently assumed that he was doing all that was possible, and there was no disposition to worry him with suggestions or orders.

When the operations in the Mississippi valley were reduced to secondary importance by the surrender of Vicksburg, it was certain that Grant would be called to conduct one of the great armies which must still make war upon the rebellion. In a visit to New Orleans to consult with Banks, he had been lamed by a fractious horse and was disabled for some days. As soon as he was able to ride in an ambulance he was on duty, and was assured by General Halleck that plenty of work would be cut out for him as soon as he was fully recovered. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. iv. p. 274.] At the beginning of October he was ordered to take steamboat and go to Cairo, where he would find special instructions. This dispatch reached him on the 9th, and the same day he sailed for Cairo, arriving there on the 16th, when he learned that an officer of the War Department would meet him at Louisville. Hastening to Louisville by rail, he met Mr. Stanton himself, who had travelled incognito from Washington. The Secretary of War produced the formal orders which had been drawn at the War Department creating the Division of the Mississippi, which included Rosecrans's, Burnside's, and his own departments, and put him in supreme command of all. [Footnote: Id., p. 404.] The order was drawn in two forms, one relieving Rosecrans and putting Thomas in command of the Department of the Cumberland, and the other omitting this. After consultation with Mr. Stanton, the order relieving Rosecrans was issued and Grant published his own assumption of command. His staff had accompanied him, on a hint contained in an earlier dispatch, and after a day spent with the Secretary of War (October 18-19) he immediately proceeded to Chattanooga. He was hardly able to mount a horse, and when on foot had to get about on crutches.

It has been commonly assumed that the choice whether he would remove Rosecrans was submitted to Grant as a personal question affecting his relations with his subordinates, and that he decided it on the ground of his dislike of Rosecrans. The records of the official correspondence seem to me to show the fact rather to be that Rosecrans's removal was thought best by the Secretary, the doubt being whether Grant would prefer to retain him instead of meeting the embarrassments incident to so important a change in the organization of the beleaguered army. Grant was always disposed to work with the tools he had, and through his whole military career showed himself averse to meddling much with the organization of his army. He had strong likes and dislikes, but was very reticent of his expression of them. He would quietly take advantage of vacancies or of circumstances to put men where he wanted them, but very rarely made sweeping reorganization. If any one crossed him or became antagonistic without open insubordination, he would bear with it till an opportunity came to get rid of the offender. He hated verbal quarrelling, never used violent language, but formed his judgments and bided his time for acting on them. This sometimes looked like a lack of frankness, and there were times when a warm but honest altercation would have cleared the air and removed misunderstandings. It was really due to a sort of shyness which was curiously blended with remarkable faith in himself. From behind his wall of taciturnity he was on the alert to see what was within sight, and to form opinions of men and things that rooted fast and became part of his mental constitution. He sometimes unbent and would talk with apparent freedom and ease; but, so far as I observed, it was in the way of narrative or anecdote, and almost never in the form of discussion or comparison of views. It used to be said that during the Vicksburg campaign he liked to have Sherman and McPherson meet at his tent, and would manage to set them to discussing the military situation. Sherman would be brilliant and trenchant; McPherson would be politely critical and intellectual; Rawlins would break in occasionally with some blunt and vigorous opinion of his own: Grant sat impassable and dumb in his camp-chair, smoking; but the lively discussion stimulated his strong commonsense, and gave him more assured confidence in the judgments and conclusions he reached. He sometimes enjoyed with a spice of real humor the mistaken assumption of fluent men that reticent ones lack brains. I will venture to illustrate it by an anecdote of a date subsequent to the war. One day during his presidency, he came into the room where his cabinet was assembling, quietly laughing to himself. "I have just read," said he, "one of the best anecdotes I have ever met. It was that John Adams after he had been President was one day taking a party out to dinner, at his home in Quincy, when one of his guests noticed a portrait over the door and said, 'You have a fine portrait of Washington there, Mr. Adams!' 'Yes,' was the reply, 'and that old wooden head made his fortune by keeping his mouth shut;'" and Grant laughed again with uncommon enjoyment. The apocryphal story gained a permanent interest in Grant's mouth, for though he showed no consciousness that it could have any application to himself, he evidently thought that keeping the mouth shut was not enough in itself to ensure fortune, and at any rate was not displeased at finding such a ground of sympathy with the Father of his country. Grant's telling the story seemed to me, under the circumstances, infinitely more amusing than the original.

During the month which followed the battle of Chickamauga, Rosecrans had elaborated his report of the campaign. On the 15th of October he ordered General Garfield to proceed to Washington with it and to explain personally to the Secretary of the War and the General-in-Chief the details of the actual condition of the army, its lines of communication, the scarcity of supplies and especially of forage for horses and mules, with all other matters which would assist the War Department in fully appreciating the situation. Garfield's term as member of Congress began with the 4th of March preceding, but the active session would only commence on the first Monday of December. There was some doubt as to the status of army officers who were elected to Congress. General Frank P. Blair had been elected as well as Garfield, and it was in Blair's case that the issue was made by those who objected to the legality of what they called a duplication of offices. Later in the session of Congress it was settled that the two commissions were incompatible, and that one must choose between them. Blair resigned his seat at Washington and returned to Sherman's army. Garfield, who had found camp life a cause of oft-recurring and severe disease of his digestive system, resigned his army commission and retained his place in Congress. When he left Rosecrans, however, he was still hopeful that the two duties might be found consistent, and looked forward to further military employment.

On his way to Nashville, Garfield made a careful inspection of the road to Jasper and Bridgeport, and reported it with recommendations for the improvement of the transportation service. He arrived at Nashville on the 19th of October, and was met by the rumor that the Secretary of War and General Grant were at Louisville, and that Grant would come down the road by special train next day. He telegraphed the news to Rosecrans with the significant question, What does it mean? Rosecrans knew what it meant, for Grant's order assuming command and relieving him had been earlier telegraphed to him, and he had already penned his dignified and appropriate farewell order to the Army of the Cumberland.

Mr. Stanton awaited Garfield's coming at Louisville, and there was a full and frank interview between them. The order relieving Rosecrans ended Garfield's official connection with him, and, even if it had not been so, it would have been his duty to make no concealments in answering the earnest and eager cross-questioning of the Secretary. Mr. Stanton had not only had dispatches full of information from General Meigs, who now also met him at Louisville, but his assistant, Mr. Charles A. Dana, had gone early to Chattanooga, had been present at the battle of Chickamauga, and had there some perilous experiences of his own. Dana was still with Rosecrans, and had sent to the Secretary a series of cipher dispatches giving a vivid interior view of affairs and of men. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. i. pp. 220, etc.; vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 69-74, 265; pt. ii. pp. 52-70.] The talented journalist had known how to give his communications the most lively effect, and they had great weight with the Secretary. They were not always quite just, for they were written at speed under the spell of first impressions, and necessarily under the influence of army acquaintances in whom he had confidence. There is, however, no evidence that he was predisposed to judge harshly of Rosecrans, and the unfavorable conclusions he reached were echoed in Mr. Stanton's words and acts. [Footnote: Since this was written Mr. Dana has published his Recollections, based on his dispatches, but the omissions make it still important to read the originals.] The Secretary of War was consequently prepared to show such knowledge of the battle of Chickamauga and the events which followed it, that it would be impossible for Garfield to avoid mention of incidents which bore unfavorably upon Rosecrans. He might have been silent if Mr. Stanton had not known so well how to question him, but when he found how full the information of the Secretary was, his duty as a military subordinate coincided with his duty as a responsible member of Congress, and he discussed without reserve the battle and its results. Mr. Stanton also questioned General Steedman, who was on his way home, and wrote to his assistant in Washington for the information of the President, that his interview with these officers more than confirmed the worst that had reached him from other sources as to the conduct of Rosecrans, and the strongest things he had heard of the credit due to Thomas. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 684.]

Garfield came from Louisville to Cincinnati, where I was on duty at headquarters of my district, and found me, as may easily be believed, full of intense interest in the campaign. I had been kept informed of all that directly affected Burnside, my immediate chief, but my old acquaintance with Rosecrans and sincere personal regard for him made me desire much more complete information touching his campaign than was given the public. Garfield's own relations to it were hardly less interesting to me, and our intimacy was such that our thoughts at that time were common property. He spent a day with me, and we talked far into the night, going over the chief points of the campaign and his interview with Mr. Stanton. His friendship for Rosecrans amounted to warm affection and very strong personal liking. Yet I found he had reached the same judgment of his mental qualities and his capacity as a commander which I had formed at an earlier day. Rosecrans's perceptions were acute and often intuitively clear. His fertility was great. He lacked poise, however, and the steadiness of will necessary to handle great affairs successfully. Then there was the fatal defect of the liability to be swept away by excitement and to lose all efficient control of himself and of others in the very crisis when complete self-possession is the essential quality of a great general.

We sat alone in my room, face to face, at midnight, as Garfield described to me the scene on the 20th of September on the battlefield, when through the gap in the line made by the withdrawal of Wood's division the Confederates poured. He pictured the astonishment of all who witnessed it, the doubt as to the evidence of their own senses; the effort of Sheridan further to the right to change front and strike the enemy in flank; the hesitation of the men; the wavering and then the breaking of the right wing into a panic-stricken rout, each man running for life to the Dry Valley road, thinking only how he might reach Chattanooga before the enemy should overtake him, officers and men swept along in that most hopeless of mobs, a disorganized army. He described the effort of Rosecrans and the staff to rally the fugitives and to bring a battery into action, under a shower of flying bullets and crashing shells. It failed, for men were as deaf to reason in their mad panic as would be a drove of stampeded cattle. What was needed was a fresh and well-organized division to cover the rout, to hold back the enemy, and to give time for rallying the fugitives. But no such division was at hand, and the rush to the rear could not be stayed. The enemy was already between the headquarters group and Brannan's division which Wood had joined, and these, throwing back the right flank, were presenting a new front toward the west, where Longstreet, preventing his men from pursuing too far, turned his energies to the effort to break the curved line of which Thomas at the Snodgrass house was the centre.

The staff and orderlies gathered about Rosecrans and tried to make their way out of the press. With the conviction that nothing more could be done, mental and physical weakness seemed to overcome the general. He rode silently along, abstracted, as if he neither saw nor heard. Garfield went to him and suggested that he be allowed to try to make his way by Rossville to Thomas, the sound of whose battle seemed to indicate that he was not yet broken. Rosecrans assented listlessly and mechanically. As Garfield told it to me, he leaned forward, bringing his excited face close to mine, and his hand came heavily down upon my knee as in whispered tones he described the collapse of nerve and of will that had befallen his chief. The words burned themselves into my memory.

Garfield called for volunteers to accompany him, but only a single orderly with his personal aide-de-camp followed him; and he made his way to the right, passed through the gap at Rossville, saw Granger, who was preparing to move Steedman's division to the front, and rode on to join Thomas, running the gantlet of the enemy's fire as he passed near them on the Kelley farm. He never tired of telling of the calm and quiet heroism of Thomas, holding his position on the horse-shoe ridge till night put an end to the fighting, and then retiring in perfect order to the Rossville Gap, to which he was ordered. This part of the story has been made familiar to all. An eyewitness has told how, when Rosecrans reached Chattanooga, he had to be helped from his horse. His nerves were exhausted by the strain he had undergone, and only gradually recovered from the shock. [Footnote: Cist, The Army of the Cumberland, p. 226.] His first dispatch to Washington was the announcement that his army had met with a serious disaster, the extent of which he could not himself tell. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. i. p. 142.] The most alarming feature of the news was that he was himself a dozen miles from the battlefield and had evidently lost all control of events. The truth turned out to be that two divisions would include all the troops that were broken,--namely, Sheridan's, two brigades of Davis's, and one of Van Cleve's,--whilst seven other divisions stood firm and Thomas assumed command of them. As these retired in order, and as the enemy had suffered more in killed and wounded than our army, Bragg was entitled to claim a victory only because the field was left in his hands with large numbers of wounded and numerous trophies of cannon. It was then claimed by some of our best officers, and is still an open question whether, if Rosecrans had been with Thomas and, calling to him Granger's troops, had resumed the offensive, the chances were not in our favor, and whether Bragg might not have been the one to retreat.

Unfortunately there was no doubt that the general was defeated, whether his army was or not. The most cursory study of the map showed that the only practicable road by which the army could be supplied was along the river from Bridgeport. Lookout Mountain commanded this; and not to hold Lookout was practically to announce a purpose to retreat into middle Tennessee. Dana informed the Secretary of War that Garfield and Granger had urged Rosecrans to hold the mountain, but that he would not listen to it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. i. p. 215.] He could much better afford to intrench a division there than Bragg could, for the Confederates were tied to Mission Ridge by the necessity of covering the Atlanta Railroad, which was their line of supply, and any troops put across the Chattanooga valley were in the air and likely to be cut off if the long and thin line which connected them were broken. Had Lookout Mountain been held, Hooker could have come at once into his place in line when he reached the Tennessee, and the reinforced army would have been ready, as soon as it was rested and supplied, to resume an offensive campaign. Instead of this, the country was for a month tortured with the apprehension that the Army of the Cumberland must retreat because it could not be fed by means of the mountain road over Walden's Ridge. After the fortifications at Chattanooga were strong enough to put the place beyond danger from direct assault, it would only be adding to the danger of starvation to send more men there before a better line of supply was opened.

The problem which the President and Secretary of War pondered most anxiously was the capacity and fitness of Rosecrans to conduct the new campaign. Would he rise energetically to the height of the great task, or would he sink into the paralysis of will which so long followed the battle of Stone's River? Dana's dispatches were studied for the light they threw on this question more than for all the other interesting details they contained. For the first three or four days, they teemed with impressions of the battle itself and the cause of the disaster to the right wing. Then came the assurance that Chattanooga was safe and could withstand a regular siege. Next, in logical order as in time, was the attempt to look into the future and to estimate the commander by the way he grappled with the difficulties of the situation. On the 27th of September Dana discussed at some length the army feeling toward the corps and division commanders who had been involved in the rout, and the embarrassment of Rosecrans in dealing with the subject. "The defects of his character," he wrote, "complicate the difficulty. He abounds in friendliness and approbativeness, and is greatly lacking in firmness and steadiness of will. He is a temporizing man, dreads so heavy an alternative as is now presented." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. i p. 202.] On the 12th of October he returned to the subject of Rosecrans's characteristics, mentioning his refusal to listen to the urgent reasons why he should hold Lookout Mountain to protect his supply line. "Rosecrans," he said, "who is sometimes as obstinate and inaccessible to reason as at others he is irresolute, vacillating, and inconclusive, rejected all their arguments, and the mountain was given up." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. i. p. 215.] Picturing the starvation of the horses and mules and the danger of it for the soldiers, he added: "In the midst of this the commanding general devotes that part of the time which is not employed in pleasant gossip, to the composition of a long report to prove that the government is to blame for his failure. It is my duty to declare that while few persons exhibit more estimable social qualities, I have never seen a public man possessing talent with less administrative power, less clearness and steadiness in difficulty, and greater practical incapacity than General Rosecrans. He has inventive fertility and knowledge, but he has no strength of will and no concentration of purpose. His mind scatters. There is no system in the use of his busy days and restless nights, no courage against individuals in his composition, and with great love of command he is a feeble commander." [Footnote:Ibid.]

It needs no proof that such a report would have great influence at Washington, and if it at all harmonized with the drift of impressions caused by the inaction and the wrangling of the summer, it would be decisive. It was with it in his pocket that Mr. Stanton had cross-questioned Garfield, and drew out answers which, as he said, corroborated it. The same correspondence had set forth the universal faith in Thomas's imperturbable steadiness and courage, and the admiring faith in him which had possessed the whole army. The natural and the almost necessary outcome of it all was that Thomas should be placed in command of the Department and Army of the Cumberland, and Grant in supreme control of the active operations in the whole valley of the Mississippi. As to Rosecrans's removal, Grant did not bring it about, he only acquiesced in it; willingly, no doubt, but without initiative or suggestion on his part. [Footnote: Grant's Personal Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 18.]

It may be well here to say a word upon the subsequent relations of Garfield and Rosecrans. In the next winter a joint resolution was offered in Congress thanking General Thomas and the officers and men under his command for their conduct in the battle of Chickamauga. The established etiquette in such matters is to name the general commanding the army, whose services are recognized, and not his subordinates; these are included in the phrase, "officers and men under his command." To omit Rosecrans's name and to substitute Thomas's was equivalent to a public condemnation of the former. Garfield had been promoted to be major-general for his conduct in the battle, and it was popularly understood that this meant his special act in volunteering to make his way to Thomas after Rosecrans and the staff were swept along the Dry Valley road in the rout. The promotion was recognized as a censure by implication on his chief. As Garfield was now chairman of the committee of the House of Representatives on military affairs, he was placed in a peculiarly embarrassing position. His sincere liking for Rosecrans made him wish to spare him the humiliation involved in the passage of such a resolution, and his generosity was the more stimulated by the knowledge that his own promotion had been used to emphasize the shortcoming of his friend. He could not argue that on the battlefield itself there had been no faults committed; but he was very earnest in insisting that the general strategy of the campaign had been admirable, and the result in securing Chattanooga as a fortified base for future operations had been glorious. He therefore moved to amend the resolution by inserting Rosecrans's name and modifying the rest so as to make it apply to the campaign and its results. He supported this in an eloquent speech which dwelt upon the admirable parts of Rosecrans's generalship and skilfully avoided the question of personal conduct on the field. He carried the House with him, but a joint resolution must pass the Senate also, and it never came to a vote in that body.

When in 1880 Garfield was elected President, and in the midst of a heated campaign had to run the gantlet of personal attacks infinitely worse than the picket fire under which he had galloped across the Kelley farm, a letter was produced which he had written to Mr. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, in June, 1863, when he was urging Rosecrans to terminate the inglorious delays at Murfreesboro by marching on Tullahoma. In his letter to Mr. Chase he had expressed in warmest terms his personal affection for Rosecrans, but had also condemned the summer's delays as unnecessary and contrary to military principles. In the violence of partisan discussion the letter was seized upon as evidence of a breach of faith toward his chief, who was now acting with the political party opposed to Garfield's election. The letter was a personal one, written in private friendship to Mr. Chase, with whom Garfield had kept up an occasional correspondence since the beginning of the war. I had done the like, for Mr. Chase had admitted us both to his intimacy when he was Governor of Ohio. It cannot for a moment be maintained that military subordination is inconsistent with temperate and respectful criticism (for such this was) of a superior, in private communications to a friend. But it was argued that the relation of chief of staff involved another kind of confidence. It unquestionably involved the duty of observing and maintaining perfectly every confidence actually reposed in him. But the public acts of the chief were anything but confidential. They were in the face of all the world, and these only were the subject of his private and friendly criticism. That criticism he had, moreover, expressed to Rosecrans himself as distinctly as he wrote it to Mr. Chase, and had declared it publicly in the written consultation or council of war to which the corps and division commanders were called. [Footnote:Ante, vol. i. p. 483.]

But Garfield was also at that time a member of Congress, having duties to the President, the Cabinet, and his colleagues and fellow members growing out of that relation. Rosecrans not only knew this, but was supposed by many to have invited Garfield to take the staff appointment partly by reason of this. Under all the circumstances, therefore, the ground of complaint becomes shadowy and disappears. Rosecrans, however, was made to think he had suffered a wrong. He forgot the generosity with which Garfield had saved him from humiliation in the session of 1863-64, and said bitter things which put an end to the friendly relations which had till then been maintained.

To return to Chattanooga in October, 1863: one thing remained to be done before a new campaign could begin. A better mode of supplying the army must be found. Thomas had answered Grant's injunction to hold Chattanooga at all hazards by saying, "I will hold the town till we starve." The memorable words have been interpreted as a dauntless assurance of stubborn defence; but they more truly meant that the actual peril was not from the enemy, but from hunger. Rosecrans had begun to feel the necessity of opening a new route to Bridgeport before he was relieved, and on the very day he laid down the command, he had directed Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, sent to him to be chief engineer of his army since the battle, to examine the river banks in the vicinity of Williams Island, six or seven miles below the town by the river, and to report upon the feasibility of laying a pontoon bridge there which could be protected. The expectation had been that Hooker would concentrate his two corps at Bridgeport, make his own crossing of the Tennessee, and push forward to the hills commanding Lookout Valley. By intrenching himself strongly in the vicinity of Wauhatchie, he would confine the Confederates to Lookout Mountain on the west, and cover the roads along the river so as to make them safe for supply trains. The only interruption in the connected communications would then be around the base of Lookout itself, where the road could not be used, of course, so long as Bragg should be able to hold the mountain. If, however, a bridge could be laid somewhere in rear of such a fortified position, the road on the north bank of the river could be used, for this road ran across the neck of Moccasin Point, out of range of a cannonade from the mountain, and after a short haul of a mile or two, the wagon trains could recross the river by the bridge at the town.

Hooker had showed no eagerness to take the laboring oar in this business, and excused his delay in concentrating at Bridgeport by the lack of wagons. General Smith's reconnoissance satisfied him that Brown's Ferry, a little above the island, would admirably serve the purpose. A roadway to the river on each side already existed. On the south side was a gorge and a brook, which sheltered the landing there, and would cover and hide troops moving toward the top of the ridge commanding Lookout Valley. Smith reported his discovery to Thomas and suggested that pontoons be built in Chattanooga, and used to convey a force by night to the ferry, where they might be met by Hooker coming from below. Thomas approved the plan, and as soon as Grant arrived, he inspected the ground in company with Thomas and Smith, and ordered it to be executed. The boats were completed by the end of a week, and on the night of the 26th of October the expedition started under the command of General Smith in person. Brigadier-Generals Hazen and Turchin and Colonel T. R. Stanley of the Eighteenth Ohio [Footnote: Colonel Stanley had been one of my associates in the Ohio Senate in the winter of 1860-61. On the origin and development of the plan and its complete execution, see Reports of General Smith and others, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 77-137.] were assigned to command the three detachments of troops and boats assigned to the duty, and reported to Smith. Covered by the darkness and in absolute silence, they were to float down the stream which flowed around Moccasin Point in a great curve under the base of Lookout, on which batteries commanded long reaches of the river both above and below. Reaching the ferry on the enemy's side, they would land and carry the picket posts with a rush, Hazen to move to the left and seize the ridge facing the mountain, and Turchin to do the like toward the right, facing down stream. Colonel Stanley's detachment had the charge of the boats, which were fitted with row-locks and oars, and these were to do the ferrying when the proper place was reached. Each boat contained a corporal and four men as a crew, and twenty-five armed soldiers. They were fifty in number, besides two flatboats to be used as a ferry to cross the artillery. The whole force consisted of 5000 men and three batteries of artillery. The boats carried about a third of the whole, and the principal columns marched by the road on the north bank to the places assigned and were concealed in the forest. The plan worked beautifully. Starting at three o'clock in the morning of the 27th, the darkness of the night and a slight fog hid the boats from the Confederate pickets. The oars were only used to keep the boats in proper position in the current, and great care was taken to move silently. Colonel Stanley took the lead with General Hazen in one of the flatboats, having a good guide. The landing on the south bank was found, and the troops landed and drove off the enemy's picket, which was taken completely by surprise. The boats were swiftly pulled to the north bank, where the troops which marched by the road were already in position. The ferrying was hurried with a will, and before the Confederates had time to bring any considerable force to oppose, strong positions were taken covering the ferry, these were covered by an abatis of slashed forest trees and intrenched. The surprise had been complete, and the success had been perfect.

Hooker crossed the river on the bridge at Bridgeport, and on the morning of the 28th marched by way of Running Waters and Whitesides to Wauhatchie. Geary's division reached Wauhatchie about five in the afternoon, and about midnight was fiercely attacked by Jenkins' division of Longstreet's corps. The combat continued for some time, the enemy having some advantage at first as they attacked Geary's left flank in a direction from which he did not expect them. Other troops were urged forward to Geary's assistance, but the enemy retired as they approached the scene of action and only his division was seriously engaged. He reported a list of 216 casualties, whilst the Confederates admitted a loss of about 400. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 119, 233.] Hooker's position was made strongly defensible, so that Bragg did not again venture to disturb it, and the easy lines of supply for Chattanooga were opened. The subsistence problem was solved.



CHAPTER XXVIII

SIEGE OF KNOXVILLE--END OF BURNSIDE'S CAMPAIGN

Departments not changed by Grant--Sherman assigned to that of the Tennessee--Burnside's situation and supplies--His communications--Building a railroad--Threatened from Virginia--His plans--Bragg sends Longstreet into East Tennessee--Their cross-purposes--Correspondence of Grant and Burnside--Dana and Wilson sent to consult--Grant approves Burnside's course--Latter slowly retires on Knoxville--The place prepared for a siege--Combat at Campbell's station--Within the lines at Knoxville--Topography of the place--Defences--Assignment of positions-The forts--General Sanders killed--His self-sacrifice--Longstreet's lines of investment--His assault of Fort Sanders--The combat--The repulse--The victory at Missionary Ridge and results--Division of Confederate forces a mistake--Grant sends Sherman to raise the siege of Knoxville--East Tennessee a "horror"--Longstreet retreats toward Virginia--Sherman rejoins Grant--Granger's unwillingness to remain--General Foster sent to relieve Burnside--Criticism of this act--Halleck's misunderstanding of the real situation--Grant's easy comprehension of it--His conduct in enlarged responsibility--General Hunter's inspection report.

One of the first questions which General Grant had to decide was that of the continuance of the three separate departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee. It was very undesirable to concentrate the ordinary administrative work of these departments at his own headquarters. It would overburden him with business routine which need not go beyond a department commander. He needed to be free to give his strength to the conduct of military affairs in the field. It was also convenient to have the active army under a triple division of principal parts. All these reasons led him to a prompt determination to preserve the department organizations if the War Department would consent. The very day of his arrival at Chattanooga (October 23) he recommended Sherman for the Department of the Tennessee and the continuance of the others. His wish was approved at Washington, and acted upon, so that from this time to the end of the war the organization in the West remained what he now made it.

Before reaching Chattanooga, Grant had telegraphed to Burnside and had received from him a detailed statement of the numbers and positions of his troops. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 680, 681.] Burnside also laid before him the dearth of supplies and short stock of ammunition, with the great need of clothing. Unless the railroad to Chattanooga could be fully reopened, he suggested making a depot at McMinnville, where was the end of one of the branches of the railway, from which the road to Knoxville would be considerably shorter than from Kentucky. He also informed Grant that he had taken steps to repair the wagon road from Clinton in East Tennessee to the mouth of South Fork of the Cumberland, the head of steamboat navigation when the stream should be swollen by the winter rains. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. pp. 33, 34.] The problem of supplies for him was as difficult as for the Cumberland army, and was not so soon solved. It grew more serious still when the siege of Knoxville interrupted for a month all communication with a base in Kentucky, in middle Tennessee, or at Chattanooga.

In reply to an inquiry from General Grant, Burnside, on the 22d, [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 702.] gave his opinion as to the relative importance of points in East Tennessee, pointing out that unless communication with Kentucky were to be wholly abandoned, the valley must be held nearly or quite to the Virginia line; Knoxville would be the central position, and Loudon would be the intermediate one between him and Chattanooga. In a dispatch to the President of the same date, Burnside said that his command had been on half rations of everything but fresh beef ever since his arrival in the valley. [Footnote:Id., p. 701.] He also explained that he was improving the wagon road along the line of projected railroad down the South Fork of the Cumberland, so that sections of it could be laid with rails and the wagoning gradually shortened. He had been able to make an arrangement with the railroad company in Kentucky to assume the cost of the extension of the line from the northward, and by using his military power to call out negro laborers and to provide the engineering supervision, was making considerable progress without any money appropriations from Congress for this specific purpose. The quartermaster's department had taken issue with the general as to his authority to do this; but the President and Secretary of War sanctioned his acts and would not allow him to be interfered with. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxx. pt iii, p. 787.] The work stopped when he was relieved of command; but so long as he was in power, his clear apprehension of the vital necessity of a railway line to feed and clothe his army kept him persistent and indomitable in his purpose. The withdrawal of the enemy southward from Chattanooga, and the conversion of that place into a great military depot in the spring superseded Burnside's plan, but he had been right in concluding that East Tennessee could not be held if the troops depended upon supply by wagon trains.

Grant had hardly reached Chattanooga when Halleck informed him that it was pretty certain that Ewell's corps of 20,000 or 25,000 men had gone from Lee's army toward East Tennessee by way of southwestern Virginia. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 712.] There thus seemed to be strong confirmation of rumors which Burnside had before reported. Before the end of the month there were also signs of a concentration south of Loudon, and the question became a pressing one, what line of action should be prescribed for Burnside if the Confederates should thus attack him from both ends of the valley. He did not credit the rumor as to Ewell's corps, but began to think that a large detachment from Bragg's army would attack him from the south. It is curious to find the report rife that Longstreet would march against Burnside, even before Bragg had issued orders to that effect. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 718. Oct. 24.] Burnside himself proposed to take up the pontoon bridge at Loudon, and move it to Knoxville, for both the Holston and the Little Tennessee were now unfordable and would protect his flank against small expeditions of the enemy. [Footnote: 2 Id., p. 756.] His plan was to hold all the country he could and to concentrate at Knoxville and stand a siege whenever the enemy should prove too strong for him in the open field. Grant was not yet persuaded that this was best, and wanted the line of the Hiwassee held for the present, so that Burnside should draw nearer to Thomas rather than increase the distance before the Cumberland army should be prepared for active work in the field. [Footnote:Id., p. 770.]

Bragg's order to Longstreet to march against Burnside was issued on the 4th of November. [Footnote: Id. pt. iii. p. 634.] Railway transportation was provided for the first stages of the movement, but it was not efficiently used. Longstreet had no confidence in the result of the expedition, as his correspondence with Bragg very plainly shows. Stevenson's division of Hardee's corps was at Sweetwater, the end of the railway at that time, and about a day's march from the crossing of the Holston at Loudon. Ten days had been wasted in getting Longstreet's corps to Sweetwater, and Bragg and he each charged the other with the responsibility for it. Longstreet asserted that he had been given no control over the railway, and Bragg insisted that the control was ample. Then the former had urged that Stevenson's division should be attached to his command, saying this was his understanding at the start. Bragg replied that he never had any such intention and that Stevenson could not be spared. Longstreet retorted that with his present force it would be unreasonable to expect great results. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 635-637, 644, 670, 671, 680, 681, 687: Longstreet's Report, Id., pt. i. pp. 455, etc.]

Meanwhile Sherman was hastening to Chattanooga, and the chances for making the diversion against Burnside profitable to the Confederate cause were rapidly diminishing. They soon vanished entirely, and Grant's great opportunity came instead. Longstreet's corps consisted of nine brigades of infantry in two strong divisions under Major-General McLaws and Brigadier-General Jenkins, two battalions of artillery aggregating nine batteries, and a cavalry corps of three divisions and three batteries of artillery under Major-General Wheeler. [Footnote: Id., pp. 451, 454.] Besides these troops a force was collected in the upper Holston valley to operate from the northeast in conjunction with Longstreet and under his command. At its head was Major-General Ransom, and it consisted of three brigades of infantry and three of cavalry, with six batteries of artillery. The column with Longstreet numbered 14,000 infantry and artillery, and about 6000 cavalry. It was strengthened when before Knoxville by Buckner's division about 3300 strong. Ransom's forces numbered 7500. [Footnote: These numbers are taken from the official returns for October 31st, except Wheeler's cavalry, which was not then reported and is estimated. Longstreet's corps is given in the tables, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. ii. p. 656. Ransom's, Id., pt. iii. p. 644.] On November 22d Bragg wrote to Longstreet that nearly 11,000 reinforcements were moving to his assistance, but of what these were made up (except Buckner's division) does not clearly appear. [Footnote: Id., p. 736.]

The information Halleck collected at Washington indicated that Longstreet's column was a strong one, possibly numbering 40,000, but he urged that Burnside should not retreat. [Footnote: Id., p. 145.] The National forces in East Tennessee consisted, first, of the troops under General Willcox at Cumberland Gap and the vicinity, 4400; the Ninth Corps, Brigadier-General Potter commanding, 6350; and part of the Twenty-third Corps, 7800, with two bodies of cavalry numbering 7400. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 811.] Willcox's troops and part of the cavalry were ordered to hold in check the Confederates under Ransom, one brigade of cavalry under Colonel Byrd was posted at Kingston to keep up communication with Chattanooga, and the rest was available to meet Longstreet, either in the field or behind intrenchments at Knoxville, as Grant should direct.

Longstreet's army was considerably overrated in the information received from Washington, but not unnaturally. [Footnote: Halleck to Grant, Id., pt. iii. p. 145.] It was assumed that he had with him all three divisions of his corps, and it was not known that Walker's division was detached. It had also been known that Stevenson's division was at Sweetwater two or three weeks before Longstreet assembled his forces there, and it seemed certain that it was the advance-guard of his whole command. Indeed Longstreet himself supposed so, and complained because it was not allowed to remain with him. [Footnote: Id., p. 635.] Concluding, therefore, that Burnside could not safely meet Longstreet in the field, Grant proposed that he should hold the Confederates in check, retreating slowly. He believed that in a week from the time Longstreet showed himself at the Holston River, he could assume the aggressive against Bragg so vigorously as to bring Longstreet back at speed and relieve Burnside of the pressure. [Footnote:Id., p. 143; to Halleck, p. 154.] Bragg also expected this, and had ordered that the railway connection should be maintained as far as possible, looking for a crushing blow at Burnside and a quick reassembling of his forces. The delays between the 4th and 14th of November had been fatal to this plan, and it would have been the part of wisdom to abandon it frankly.

Neither the authorities at Washington nor Grant gave Burnside credit, at first, for the cheerful courage with which he was ready to take the losing side of the game, if need be, and thus give a glorious opportunity to the co-operating army. His chivalrous self-forgetfulness in such matters was perfect, when it was likely to lead to the success of the larger cause he had at heart. To reach a more perfect understanding than could be had by correspondence Grant sent Colonel J. H. Wilson of his staff to Knoxville to consult personally with Burnside. This officer was accompanied by Mr. Dana, and their dispatches to Grant and to the Secretary of War give a clear and vivid picture of the situation. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 258, etc; pt. iii. pp. 146, 154.] Burnside clearly saw the importance of making his stand at Knoxville, and proposed to fortify that place so that he could stand a siege there. [Footnote: Burnside to Willcox, Id., p. 177. B.'s Report, Id., pt. i. p. 273.] He proposed to draw back slowly from the Holston at Loudon, tolling Longstreet on and getting him beyond supporting distance of Bragg. When Grant should have disposed of the weakened enemy in his front, he could easily drive Longstreet out of East Tennessee into Virginia. Grant approved without qualification the course taken by Burnside. [Footnote: Grant to Burnside, Id., pt. iii. p. 177.] During the siege which followed, there was a good deal of solicitude about Burnside, but it should be remembered in justice to him that his own confidence never faltered and was fully justified by the result.

Prior to the visit of Wilson and Dana he had sent his engineer, Captain O. M. Poe, to Loudon to remove the pontoon bridge before the occupation of the south bank of the Holston by the enemy should make it impossible to save it. The bridge had been made of unusually large and heavy boats, and it was a difficult task to haul them out of the water and drag them half a mile to the railway. The south end of the bridge was loosened and the whole swung with the current against the right bank, where the dismantling and removal of the boats was successfully accomplished under the eyes of a cavalry force of the enemy which watched the performance from the opposite bank. The bridge was carried to Knoxville and laid across the Holston there. Its size and weight proved to be great points in its favor for the special use there, and it was of inestimable value during the partial investment of the town. [Footnote: Poe's Report, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 294. Century War Book, vol. iii.]

On the 13th of November Longstreet brought up his own pontoons and laid a bridge near Loudon, and the next day began a vigorous advance upon Knoxville. Burnside had matured his plans, and opposed the advance of Longstreet with one division, Hartranft's of the Ninth Corps, and another, White's of the Twenty-third Corps. He was weak in cavalry, however, and could only meet Wheeler's corps with a single division under Brigadier-General Sanders. Burnside had secured Sanders's promotion from Mr. Stanton when the Secretary was at Louisville in October, in recognition of the ability and gallantry shown in the expedition to East Tennessee in June and his other services during the campaign. By giving Shackelford charge of the cavalry operating in the upper valley and putting Sanders in command of those resisting Wheeler, Burnside was sure of vigor and courage in the leadership of both divisions. Longstreet kept Wheeler on the left bank of the Holston, directing him to overwhelm Sanders and move directly opposite Knoxville, taking the city by a surprise if possible. But Sanders opposed a stubborn resistance, falling back deliberately, and held the hills south of Knoxville near the river. Wheeler was thus baffled, and returned to Longstreet on the 17th of November. The absence of his cavalry had been a mistake, as it turned out; for the Confederate infantry, after crossing at Loudon to the right bank, had not been able to push Burnside back as fast as Bragg's plans required, nor had they succeeded at all in getting in the rear of the National forces.

As soon as it was definitely known at Knoxville that Longstreet was over the Holston, Burnside went to the front at Lenoir's to take command in person. [Footnote: Burnside's Report, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 273.] He left General Parke as chief of staff in general charge of affairs at headquarters, with Captain Poe in charge of the engineer work of preparing lines of defence connecting the forts already planned and partly constructed. Wilson and Dana stayed in Knoxville till the 15th, and then rode rapidly to the westward, passing around Longstreet's columns and rejoining Grant at Chattanooga on the night of the 17th, with latest assurances from Burnside that he would hold Knoxville stubbornly. Longstreet's tactics were to move one of his infantry divisions directly at Burnside's position, while with the other he turned its flank and sought to get to the rear. Burnside met the plan by the analogous one of alternate withdrawals of a division, one holding the enemy at bay while the other took post in echelon in the rear and opposed the flanking column till a concentration could be made.

At Campbell's Station Longstreet attacked with vigor, determined to finish matters with the force before him. Ferrero's division of the Ninth Corps had now joined. Hartranft repulsed an attack by McLaws, whilst the trains and the division of Ferrero passed on, and Ferrero took a strong position half a mile in rear covering the junction of roads. White then retired and came into line on Ferrero's left. When these were solidly in place Hartranft took an opportune moment to withdraw and came into line on the left of White. The manoeuvres were perfectly performed, and the fighting of our troops had been everything that could be desired, meeting and matching Longstreet's veterans in a way to establish the soldierly reputation of all. The comparatively new organization of the Twenty-third Corps proved itself equal to the best, and Burnside declared that he could desire no better soldiers. The same tactics were continued through the day, and Burnside followed the hard labor and the fighting of the day with a night march which brought him to Knoxville on the morning of the 17th. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 274, 275, 296.] He had personally handled his little army through the day with coolness and success, and had raised to enthusiasm the confidence and devotion of his men. Each side had a casualty list of about 300.

Wheeler had marched back along the left bank of the Holston half-way to Lenoir's and crossed at Louisville, joining Longstreet again near Knoxville on the 17th, as has been already stated. He now took the advance and pressed sharply in upon the town. General Sanders had been recalled by Burnside from the south, and entering Knoxville by the pontoon bridge, passed out to the westward on the Loudon road, meeting the enemy as he advanced, and gradually falling back to a position a mile beyond the lines, where he made a stubborn stand and held Wheeler at bay till night closed the combat. From the fortified points about the city the cavalry engagement had been in full view, and the heroism of Sanders and his men was in the presence of a cloud of witnesses. They made little barricades of rail piles, and though these were frequently sent flying by the cannon balls and shells with which Alexander's artillery pounded them all day, they held at nightfall the line Sanders had been directed to hold in the morning, and had not given back an inch. [Footnote: Colonel O. M. Poe, in "Century War Book," vol. iii. p. 737.]

Knoxville was so situated that its outline was a sort of parallelogram of high ground, averaging a hundred and fifty feet or more above the river which ran along the town on the south. Two creeks ran through the town in little valleys, and in the northern suburbs where the land was much lower than the town it had been practicable, by damming these streams to make inundations which covered a considerable part of the northern front and added very materially to the defences. At the four corners of the parallelogram, enclosed works had been planned for use by a small garrison, and these had been partly constructed. Captain Poe, the chief engineer, had staked out infantry lines connecting these forts, with epaulements for artillery at intervals, and work had been hastened during the days from the 13th of November, as soon as Burnside's plan of holding the city had been approved. When the troops approached the city on the morning of the 17th, the position for every brigade and every battery had been assigned, and officers were in waiting to lead each to its place. All the infantry was put in line except Reilly's brigade of the Twenty-third Corps, which was placed in reserve in the streets of the town. [Footnote: Poe's Report, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 295.]

The most important of the forts was at the northwest angle of the works, upon a commanding hill. It was afterward called Fort Sanders in honor of the cavalry commander who lost his life in front of its western face. This work was planned as approximately a square with sides of about a hundred yards and bastions at the corners. The eastern front had not been completed, and was now left entirely open, as the northern face connected with the infantry trench. The ditch was twelve feet wide and about eight deep, and the parapet was about twelve feet high, making its crest about twenty feet above the bottom of the ditch. The berme usually left between the bottom of the parapet slope and the ditch was cut away so as to leave no level standing-place at the top of the scarp. This was the work which Longstreet afterward assaulted. Its chief defect was due to the situation and the contour of the ground around, which made its position so prominent a salient in the lines that the flanking fire was necessarily imperfect, leaving a considerable sector without fire beyond the angle of the northwest bastion. The point of the bastion was truncated, and a single gun put in the pan coupé. The three other forts were less elaborate but of similar profile.

As soon as the infantry took position, the men were set industriously to work to strengthen the defences. The first infantry trench between the forts had been a mere rifle-pit two and one half feet deep with the earth heaped in front as it was thrown out, to raise a parapet. Every hour made the line stronger, and work on it was continued till nearly every part of it was a good cover against artillery fire. The critical time was during the 18th of November, when as yet there was practically no cover between the forts. The cavalry was ordered to oppose the most determined resistance to the establishment of close investing lines by the enemy, and Sanders set his men a most inspiring example. He was a classmate of Captain Poe at West Point, and on the night of the 17th he shared Poe's blanket. Before dawn he went to the front, and passed from one to another of the little barricades held by his dismounted troopers. The Confederates increased the vigor of their attacks, and if any of our men were driven back by the hot fire, Sanders would walk deliberately up to the rail-pile and stand erect and exposed till his men rallied to him. For hours he did this, and his life seemed to be charmed, but about the middle of the afternoon he was mortally wounded, and the screen he had so resolutely interposed between the enemy and our infantry digging in the trenches was rolled aside. [Footnote: Paper by General Poe in "Century War Book," vol. iii. p. 737.] The time thus gained had been precious, though it was bought at so high a price. The lines were already safe against a coup de main. [Footnote: Poe's Report, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 296.]

Longstreet's principal lines were north of Knoxville beyond the railway and the station buildings. He also occupied a line of hills, but pushed forward strong skirmish lines and detachments to cover the making of intrenchments closer to the town. There were frequent bickering combats, but no general engagement. The enemy made efforts to destroy the pontoon bridge by sending down logs and rafts from above. These were met by an iron cable boom stretched across the river above the bridge, borne on wooden floats to keep it at the surface. [Footnote: Century War Book, vol. iii. p. 739.] Several efforts were made to drive Burnside's men from the hills covering the town on the south side of the river, but they were defeated, and communication was kept up with the valley of the French Broad River, and supplies enough were brought in to make it certain that Burnside could not be starved out, although the rations were reduced to the smallest quantity and the fewest elements which would support life.

A week passed thus, Burnside being shut off from all communication with the outer world. The 25th of November came with the almost miraculous storming of Missionary Ridge by the army under Grant at Chattanooga. Bragg retreated southward and Longstreet had no longer a possibility of rejoining him. Yet Burnside knew nothing of it, and did not dream of the more than complete justification his slow defensive campaign was having, in the tout and demoralization of the Confederate army in Georgia in Longstreet's absence. The latter was now forced to attack the fortifications or to raise the siege of Knoxville. He knew, at least by rumor, what Burnside was ignorant of,--not only the defeat of Bragg, but that a force was already moving from Grant's army to the relief of Knoxville. Bragg had also sent to him a staff officer with exhortations to prompt action. For a day or two Longstreet tried to attract Burnside's attention to the south of the river and to other parts of the lines, and then on the 28th prepared a desperate assault upon the great salient of Fort Sanders.

The artillery in the fort was under the command of Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin, Second U. S. Artillery, whose battery of twenty-pounder Parrotts had done good service at South Mountain and Antietam. The infantry was of Ferrero's division of the Ninth Corps. There was a slight abatis in front of the fort, and on the suggestion of Mr. Hoxie, an officer of the railway, some old telegraph wire left at the depot was used by Captain Poe to make an entanglement by fastening it between small stumps of a grove which had been felled along the slope northwest of the bastion at the salient. Longstreet's plan of assault was to attack the northwest angle of the fort with two columns of regiments, consisting of Wofford's and Humphrey's brigades of McLaws's division. Anderson's brigade was to attack the infantry trench a little east of the fort. Longstreet's instructions were to make the assault at break of day on the 29th. The columns were to move silently and swiftly without firing and endeavor to carry the parapet by the bayonet. [Footnote: Longstreet's Report, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 461.] The determined advance of the enemy's rifle pits by his skirmishers in the night of the 28th gave warning of what was to be expected. The morning of the 29th was damp and foggy, but the watchful pickets detected the formation of the enemy's columns. About six o'clock the Confederate batteries opened a heavy fire on the fort, which did not reply, ammunition being too precious to be wasted. In about twenty minutes the cannonade ceased and the columns moved to the assault. The fire of our lines was concentrated upon them, and they lost heavily; but they kept on, somewhat disordered by the entanglement as well as by their losses, and came to the ditch. No doubt its depth and the high face of the parapet surprised them, for they had no scaling ladders. They jumped into the ditch and tried to scramble up the slope of the earthwork. Some got to the top, only to be shot down or captured. The guns flanking the ditch raked it with double charges of canister. Shells were lighted and thrown as hand-grenades into the practically helpless crowd below. Those who had not entered the ditch soon wavered and fell back, at first sullenly and slowly, then in despair running for life to cover. Those who remained and could walk surrendered and were marched to the southwest angle of the fort, where they were brought within the lines.

The remnants of the broken columns were rallied behind their outer lines, but no effort was made to renew the assault. They had done all that was possible for flesh and blood. The casualties in the assault had been about 1000, whilst within the fortifications only 13 killed and wounded were reported. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 277, 278, 344, 461, 487, 490, 519, 520.] Buckner's division had joined Longstreet a day or two before the assault, but took no active part in it. Their absence from Missionary Ridge still further reduced Bragg's army, whilst it did not give to Longstreet any practical benefit. The division of the Confederate forces had thus proved to be a great military mistake. Its only chance had been in a swift attack upon Burnside and a prompt return, and this chance had vanished with the delays in the railroad transportation of Longstreet's men to Sweetwater. Prudence dictated that the expedition should be abandoned on the 13th of November; but the fear of seeming vacillating, a weakness of second-rate minds as great as vacillation itself, had made Bragg order the column forward. Burnside's well-conducted retreat, on the other hand, had lured Longstreet forward, and the patient endurance of a siege had kept the enemy in front of Knoxville, and even led to the further depletion of Bragg by the detachment of Buckner, giving to Grant the very opportunity he desired. The good fortune of the National commander culminated at Missionary Ridge. Soldiers believe in good luck quite as much as in genius, and follow a leader whose star is in the ascendant with a confidence which is the guaranty of victory. Great opportunities, however, come to all. The difference between a great soldier and an inferior one is that the great man uses his opportunities to the full, and so fortune seems to be in league with him. When Grant had driven Bragg back on Dalton, the latter could realize what he had lost by his errors. It was now impossible for Longstreet to rejoin him. It was even doubtful if Wheeler's cavalry could do so. The whole National army was between the widely separated Confederate wings, and nothing was left to Longstreet but a humiliating march back to Lee by way of the upper Holston and the headwaters of the James River. Pride delayed it, and the depth of winter favored the delay; but it was a foregone conclusion from the hour that Wood's and Sheridan's divisions crowned Missionary Ridge.

For two weeks there had been no communication between Burnside and the outer world. Lincoln had been full of anxiety, but had found some comfort in the reports from Cumberland Gap that cannonading was still heard in the direction of Knoxville. It proved that Burnside held out, and gave additional earnestness to the President's exhortation to hurry a column to his relief immediately after Grant's victory. Grant needed no urging. A report had reached him that Burnside still was confident on the 23d, and had supplies for ten or twelve days on the scale of short rations he was issuing. On the very evening of his success he wrote to Sherman, "The next thing now will be to relieve Burnside." He directed Thomas to detach Granger's Corps, and this with part of the Army of the Tennessee would make a column of 20,000 men to march at once for Knoxville under Granger's command. Three days passed, and Grant, being dissatisfied that the relieving column was not already far on its way, directed Sherman on the 29th to take command in person and push it energetically toward Burnside. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. ii. pp. 45, 49; Sherman's Memoirs, vol. i. pp. 366, 368.] Sherman immediately went forward, and on the 1st of December he was over the Hiwassee River, approaching Loudon. He telegraphed Grant that he would let Burnside hear his guns on the 3d or 4th at farthest; but he added what throws much light on the feeling of military men in regard to campaigning in East Tennessee. In his frank and familiar style he said, "Recollect that East Tennessee is my horror. That any military man should send a force into East Tennessee puzzles me. Burnside is there and must be relieved; but when relieved, I want to get out and he should come out too." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 297.] From a strictly military point of view this was sound; but Burnside had been sent there more from political than from military reasons, and it was now too late to think of letting the loyal mountaineers return under Confederate rule.

Meanwhile at Knoxville Burnside was closely watching the evidences of Longstreet's purposes and eagerly listening for news from Chattanooga. On the 1st of December wagon trains began to move eastward from the besiegers' camp, and on the 3d and 4th more of them, so that it became probable that Longstreet was about to raise the siege. In the night of the 3d Captain Audenried, Sherman's aide-de-camp, came into Knoxville from the south, having made a long circuit with a small body of cavalry, from Sherman's camp, which on the night of the 2d was forty miles from the city by the direct road. Colonel Long, commanding Sherman's cavalry, had selected part of his best mounted men for the expedition, and Audenried had accompanied him. The good news of Sherman's approach was thus made certain, and it was evident that Longstreet's information was earlier than Burnside's. The Confederate camps were evacuated on the night of the 4th, and on the 5th Burnside, sending a detachment to follow up Longstreet's retreat toward the east, sent one of his staff with an escort in the other direction to meet Sherman. The messenger from Burnside met the head of the relieving column at Marysville, a day's march for infantry. Sherman halted his little army, and wrote Burnside that he felt disposed to stop, "for a stern chase is a long one," since Longstreet had retreated. He rode in to Knoxville the next day and consulted with Burnside. He was evidently dubious of any advantage from a pursuit of Longstreet, and Burnside's disposition was to avoid urging any comrade to undertake an unpleasant task for his sake. He therefore cordially assisted Sherman in solving his doubts in favor of taking back all his troops except Granger's Fourth Corps, and wrote a letter of warm thanks for the prompt march to his relief, adding his opinion that the Fourth Corps would make him strong enough to meet Longstreet, and that it was advisable for Sherman to rejoin Grant with the rest. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. ii. p. 36.] This was accordingly done, and Sherman was free to give his attention to a winter campaign toward the Gulf, from which he hoped important results.

Granger did not relish the prospect of a protracted absence from the Army of the Cumberland, and protested in vigorous and long dispatches to Thomas, to Grant, to Burnside, to Sherman, and later to Foster, [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. pp. 358, 365, 391-393; Sherman's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 368.] but with no effect, except that Grant was displeased with his original reluctance to march to Burnside's relief as well as with these protests. The result showed itself in the spring, when Granger was relieved from the command of the corps, which was conferred upon Howard.

The raising of the siege brought Burnside into communication with Cumberland Gap, and he learned that Major-General John G. Foster was at Tazewell, under orders to relieve him of the command of the department. This was in apparent accord with the wish which Burnside had expressed, [Footnote: Ante, vol. i. pp. 527, 528.] but as action had been postponed it was reasonable to expect that further consultation would be had before he should be relieved, and that Grant's judgment would be asked in regard to it. After the controversies which followed the battle of Fredericksburg, Halleck was habitually unfriendly to Burnside, and we have seen how uniformly a wrong interpretation was given to the events of the current campaign. Foster's appointment to succeed Burnside was dated the 16th of November, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 166.] and he had been in Kentucky or near Cumberland Gap during the siege of Knoxville. The day the order was made relieving Burnside was that on which he was battling with Longstreet at Campbell's Station, holding him at bay in the slow retreat upon Knoxville, where he arrived on the 17th. On this morning Grant was writing him, "So far you are doing exactly what appears to me right," [Footnote: Id., p. 177.] and this was written after the receipt of Dana and Wilson's full dispatches of the 13th and 14th, as well as Burnside's of the 13th. [Footnote: Id., p. 138.] Yet so strangely was the same information misread by Halleck, that on the 16th he was telegraphing Grant that Burnside was hesitating whether to fight or retreat out of East Tennessee. "I fear he will not fight," he added, "although strongly urged to do so. Unless you can give him immediate assistance, he will surrender his position to the enemy." [Footnote: Id., p. 163. This dispatch of Halleck seems to have been called out by one of Dana to Stanton on the 14th in which he said, "Burnside has determined to retreat toward the Gaps." (Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 259.) Halleck failed to interpret this in connection with one of the 13th in which Dana had stated alternate lines of retreat, "if finally compelled," and Burnside's judgment in favor of the line of Cumberland Gap in such last resort rather than toward Kingston. (Ibid.) Dana had fully conveyed, however, Burnside's determination to hold Knoxville "as long as possible," and his reasons for making a stubborn fight there. By failing to keep this in mind, the Secretary and General-in-Chief became unnecessarily agitated, and forgot in their conduct what was due to Grant almost as much as what was due to Burnside.] On the next day Burnside entered Knoxville, where fortifications had been hurriedly built, and the siege began. The heroic defence of Knoxville lasted three weeks, and when Longstreet withdrew toward Virginia, the successful general learned that he had been removed from command at the very moment he was completing, with Grant's unqualified approval, the preparation for that stubborn resistance which saved East Tennessee and averted the "terrible misfortune" which Halleck feared. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 145.] The importance of holding East Tennessee, now that it had been liberated, was urged upon the War Department by Burnside from the beginning. He had pointed it out when ordered to abandon it and march to Rosecrans's assistance. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 904.] So far from hesitating to fight Longstreet, Dana found him determined to "expose his whole force to capture rather than withdraw from the country." [Footnote:Id., vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 260.] It was not till Mr. Dana's later dispatches were received that the misapprehensions were corrected at Washington. Then the story of the occupation and defence of East Tennessee was explained, and justice was done the wisdom of the general's course as well as his patriotic and unselfish spirit. A part of the trouble had been due to the fact that after Grant reached Nashville Burnside's correspondence was with him, and, in accord with military usage, he dropped direct correspondence with Washington, except when addressed from there.

It was too late, however, to undo what had been done. Foster was in Kentucky, carrying forward into East Tennessee such detachments as could be picked up. He reached Knoxville on the 10th of December, and the next day Burnside turned over the command to him, and started for Cincinnati by way of Jacksboro and Williamsburg. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 372, 384.] The President was most hearty in his approval of Burnside's conduct when once he understood it, and insisted that after a brief rest he should again enter into active service. Congress passed strong resolutions of thanks to him and to his troops, [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 281.] and it began to be understood that the campaign had been a creditable one.

It was in such a command that Burnside appeared at his best. The independence of his campaign gave full play to his active energy, whilst the bodies of troops were not so large as to prevent his personal leadership in their combats. In a great army he was at a disadvantage from lack of true system in handling great and complicated affairs when he was in chief command; and if his position was a subordinate one he lacked the sort of responsibility which called out his best qualities, and he was therefore liable to become the formal intermediary for the transmission of orders. In such cases, too, he was in danger of suffering from faults of subordinates whom his kind heart had permitted to retain important positions for which they were not fit. When acting immediately under his eye, he could give them energy and courage which they would lack when left to themselves. The sore spot in his experience in 1864 was the failure to make full use of the explosion of the mine at Petersburg, and the Court of Inquiry made it clear that the fault lay with inefficient subordinates. One of the most prominent of these was said to have stayed in a bomb-proof instead of leading his command. But the same officer had done the same thing in Fort Sanders at Knoxville, as had been officially reported by Captain Benjamin, the Chief of Artillery; [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. p. 344.] and Benjamin was an officer of such military and personal standing that a court-martial should certainly have investigated the case. A mistaken leniency brought bitter fruit.

The campaign had been a new test for General Grant also, and it is instructive to follow him in grasping the details of his enlarged responsibility. When communication with Burnside became difficult and infrequent, he gave orders to Willcox at Cumberland Gap and to subordinates of Burnside in Kentucky and Ohio. He provided for starting supplies to Knoxville by all practicable routes as soon as the siege should be raised. He cut trenchantly through pretences where he thought a lack of vigorous performance was covered up by verbosity of reports. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 233.] He was quietly but easily master, and showed no symptom of being overweighted by his task or flurried by the excitements of a critical juncture in affairs. He does not impress one as brilliant in genius, but as eminently sound and sensible. His quality of greatness was that he handled great affairs as he would little ones, without betraying any consciousness that this was a great thing to do. He reminds one of Wellington in the combination of lucid and practical common-sense with aggressive bull-dog courage. Some telling lines, developing his traits as he appeared to a critical observer, are found in a dispatch of General David Hunter to the Secretary of War, giving a report of his visit to Chattanooga where he was sent to inspect the army. Hunter was one of the oldest of the regular officers in service, knew thoroughly Grant's history and early army reputation, and his words have peculiar significance. Grant had received him with a sort of filial kindness, making him at home in his quarters, and opening his mind and his purposes to him with his characteristic modesty and simplicity of manner. Hunter says: "I saw him almost every moment, except when sleeping, of the three weeks I spent in Chattanooga.... He is a hard worker, writes his own dispatches and orders, and does his own thinking. He is modest, quiet, never swears, and seldom drinks, as he took only two drinks during the three weeks I was with him. He listens quietly to the opinions of others and then judges promptly for himself; and he is very prompt to avail himself in the field of all the errors of his enemy. He is certainly a good judge of men, and has called around him valuable counsellors." He naively adds: "Prominent as General Grant is before the country, these remarks of mine may appear trite and uncalled for, but having been ordered to inspect his command, I thought it not improper for me to add my testimony with regard to the commander." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 402.]



CHAPTER XXIX

AFFAIRS IN DISTRICT OF OHIO--PLOT TO LIBERATE PRISONERS AT JOHNSON'S ISLAND.

Administrative duties--Major McLean adjutant-general--His loyalty questioned--Ordered away--Succeeded by Captain Anderson--Robert Anderson's family--Vallandigham canvass--Bounty-jumping--Action of U. S. Courts--of the local Probate Court--Efforts to provoke collision--Interview with the sheriff--Letter to Governor Tod--Shooting soldiers in Dayton--The October election--Great majority against Vallandigham--The soldier vote--Wish for field service--Kinglake's Crimean War--Its lessons--Confederate plots in Canada--Attempt on military prison at Johnson's Island--Assembling militia there--Fortifying Sandusky Bay--Inspection of the prison--Condition and treatment of the prisoners.

In the sketch I have given of the campaign in East Tennessee, I have reached the time when I joined the Twenty-third Corps in front of Knoxville, and became part of the organization with which my fortunes were to be united till the end of the war. It is necessary, however, to go back and pick up the threads of personal experience during this autumn of 1863.

The arrangement of the business of the department which I have mentioned [Footnote: Ante, vol. i. p. 492.] gave me some work in addition to that which properly belonged to the District of Ohio and Michigan. I did not appear officially in it, but under Burnside's instructions to his adjutant-general on leaving Cincinnati, the questions arising in daily administration were submitted to me, and on my advice current orders were issued in Burnside's name. This kept me in close communication with the general personally as well as officially, and made me aware of the progress of events more perfectly than I could otherwise have been. The adjutant-general in charge of the Cincinnati headquarters was Major N. H. McLean, an experienced officer of the regular army, and most systematic and able in his administrative duties. He was punctilious in his performance of duty, and was especially averse to having his military conduct seem in any way influenced by political motives. Like many other officers of the army, he made his devotion to his government as a soldier the basis of all his action, and disclaimed any interest in politics. But in the summer of 1863 politics in Ohio became too heated to allow any neutrality or even any hesitation in open declarations of principle. Vallandigham was a candidate for governor, although an exile under the judgment of the military court. Local politicians were not always discreet, and some of them demanded avowals of Major McLean, which he refused to make, not because of any sympathy with Vallandigham's partisans, but because he thought it unbecoming his military character to submit to catechising. This was enough to condemn him in the eyes of those who literally enforced the proverb that "he that is not for us is against us," and they sent to the War Department a highly colored statement of McLean's conduct, accusing him of disloyalty. Mr. Stanton, in his characteristic way, condemned him first and tried him afterward. The first we knew of it, an order came sending McLean off to the Pacific coast,--to Oregon, I believe. General Burnside protested, and warmly sustained the major as a loyal man and able officer; but the mischief was done, and it was months before it could be undone. Indeed it was years before the injury done him in his professional career was fully recognized and a serious attempt was made to recompense him.

When Major McLean was thus removed, the business of his office fell into the hands of Captain William P. Anderson of the adjutant-general's department, who issued the orders and conducted the correspondence in General Burnside's name. The captain was a nephew of General Robert Anderson, and though the general had no sons himself, his near kinsmen gave striking evidence of the earnest and militant patriotism of a loyal Kentucky stock closely allied to a well-known Ohio family. The roster of the members of the family who saw military service is an exceptional one. [Footnote: Colonel Charles Anderson, brother of the general, was in Texas when the Civil War began, but abandoned his interests there, and coming back to Ohio was made colonel of the Ninety-third Ohio Infantry, which he led in the battle of Stone's River, where he was wounded. He was in 1863 made the Union candidate for lieutenant-governor on the ticket with John Brough, whom he succeeded as governor when Brough died in 1865.

Colonel Latham Anderson, son of Charles, graduated at West Point in 1859 and became a captain in the Fifth U. S. Infantry and colonel of the Eighth California Volunteers. His war service was mostly in New Mexico and on the frontier.

Larz Anderson, another brother of the general, was represented in the War of the Rebellion by five sons who had honorable records: (1) Nicholas Longworth Anderson was adjutant, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel of the Sixth Ohio Infantry. He was severely wounded at Stone's River and Chickamauga. He left the service at the close of the war as brevet-major-general.

(2) William Pope Anderson enlisted as a private in the Sixth Ohio Infantry, became sergeant-major and second lieutenant. He was then appointed assistant-adjutant-general with rank of captain. He was slightly wounded in the battle of Shiloh.

(3) Edward Lowell Anderson was first lieutenant and captain in the Fifty-second Ohio Infantry. He was wounded at Jonesboro, but continued in service to the end of the war.

(4) Frederick Pope Anderson was first lieutenant in the One Hundred and Eighty-first Ohio Infantry.

(5) Larz Anderson, Jr., was a mere lad, but served without commission as volunteer aide-de-camp on the staff of Brigadier-General N. C. McLean.

William Marshall Anderson, of Chillicothe, Ohio, another brother of the general, had two sons in the war service: (1) Thomas McArthur Anderson was captain in the Fourteenth U.S. Infantry, and after the war became its colonel, and later a general officer in the Philippines.]

Including the general himself, his brother Charles, and the nephews, ten kinsmen supported the flag of the country in the field. Such a family record is so remarkable as to be worthy of preservation.

To return to the affairs of our military administration of the department and district, the situation was complicated by the fact that Vallandigham had openly declared a purpose to return to Ohio during his candidacy. I did not hesitate to let it be known that upon his doing so, the alternative in his sentence would be enforced, and that he would be sent to Fort Warren for imprisonment. Mr. Pugh, who had been induced to accept the nomination for lieutenant-governor with him, made a visit to Windsor, in Canada (opposite Detroit), where Vallandigham met him. The result of the conference was that Vallandigham remained quietly in Canada till the election was over, leaving it to his friends to make as much political capital out of his exile as they could.

As evidence of the fierceness of the passions roused among his partisans, a few significant facts may be mentioned. The conscription law had led, as we have seen, [Footnote: Henry Reuben Anderson was second lieutenant in the Forty-third Ohio Infantry, captain in the Sixth U.S. Volunteer Infantry, and after the war was transferred to the Fourth U.S. Artillery as first lieutenant.] to wholesale frauds in the form of "bounty-jumping." It was of course the duty of the military authorities to prevent this by arresting deserters and holding them to military service and discipline under their enlistment. A common form of fraud was for a well-grown young man to offer himself as a recruit, take the oath that he was of lawful age, receive the hundreds of dollars of bounty, and then bring forward his parents to claim him as a minor enlisting without their permission. We always recognized promptly the authority of a writ of habeas corpus from the Federal courts in such cases, and the judges examined the recruit and his friends carefully, to detect a fraudulent conspiracy if there was one. If the case appeared to be free from collusion and the evidence of minority sufficient, an order of release was made, conditioned on the repayment to the government of the bounty received and the expenses of the proceeding.

The depot of recruits for the army was on the south side of the river in Kentucky; but in any case that was not palpably fraudulent I directed the officers in charge to bring the recruit to Cincinnati, where Judge Leavitt's writ could reach him, and to submit the case to the United States District Court. The following letter will illustrate this, being one addressed by me to General Tillson, who commanded in Covington, which, with the region within a radius of some fifteen miles, was part of my district:--

"HEADQUARTERS, DISTRICT OF OHIO, CINCINNATI,

9th September, 1863.

GENERAL,--Judge Leavitt of the United States District Court called this morning with a Mr. Eckmann, who wishes to get his son, a minor, out of the First Heavy Artillery. The boy is named Summerfield Eckmann, and is in Company C. As you have stated to me that it is practicable to fill up the place of minors and invalids as fast as they can be got rid of, I would like to have the case looked into at once, and unless some reason unknown to me exists, have him sent to report to Colonel Boone at Kemper Barracks, where the writ from the Federal Court may be served. By agreement with the father, if the judge should discharge him, the bounty will be paid back, and you will please send a statement of what amount was paid and how his account with the government stands.

Very respectfully, your obed't serv't,
(Signed) J. D. Cox,
B. G. Commanding.

Brig. Gen. Davis Tillson,
Com'g, etc., Covington, Ky."

All honest and deserving cases could be satisfactorily disposed of in this way. But the fraudulent "bounty-jumpers" wanted nothing so little as a full investigation before the United States Courts. These cases, therefore, if they appeared in court at all, would be brought before local judges supposed to be prejudiced against the government and who would not require restitution. To prevent this, the War Department issued instructions based on the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Ableman v. Booth, in which Chief Justice Taney had delivered the opinion. These instructions directed that in cases arising under the conscription and recruiting laws, the writ of habeas corpus should be obeyed only when issued by United States courts. With full knowledge of these instructions and of the Supreme Court decision which had been a party shibboleth in the fugitive-slave cases before the war, the Probate judge of the county seemed bent on provoking a collision with the National authorities. His court was, among courts of record, that of inferior jurisdiction in the county, and the higher courts gave us no trouble. A letter which I wrote to Governor Tod at the close of August so fully gives the details of the matter and of the view I then took of it, that I prefer to let it stand as my statement of it, rather than any paraphrase I could now make. I said:--

"I have the honour to call your attention to a persistent effort on the part of the Probate Judge of the county to produce a collision between the sheriff and posse of the vicinity and the United States government.

"You have probably noticed the newspaper accounts of a habeas corpus case before Judge ------ some time since, in which the writ was issued to Lieutenant-Colonel Boone, One Hundred and Fifteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanding at Kemper barracks in this city, directing him to bring before the court one Hicks, held as a deserter from the army.

"In accordance with instructions from the War Department, based upon the decision of Chief Justice Taney in the case of Ableman v. Booth, Lieutenant-Colonel Boone answered in writing, stating that the man was held by the authority of the United States as a deserter, and that, without intending any disrespect to the court, it was impossible for him to deliver the prisoner to the officers of a State court. Lieutenant-Colonel Boone further attached to his answer and made part of it the instructions from Washington and the order of Major-General Burnside promulgating the same, and it was thus made matter of record in the court that the case was one directly affecting the government of the United States. The judge was also notified by counsel that it was the purpose of the Federal officers to take the case to the courts of last resort should his decision be in accordance with that which he had rendered in other cases, and that the matter would thus, without doubt, be ultimately determined by the judicial decision of the highest courts having cognizance, and that there could be no occasion for collision between himself and the military authorities.

"The judge issued an attachment against Lieutenant-Colonel Boone for contempt, and directed Major-General Burnside to be made party to the record. General Burnside answered in a similar manner to Colonel Boone. The court made no personal order in General B.'s case, but directed the sheriff of the county to arrest Lieutenant-Colonel Boone and bring him before the court. The sheriff went to Colonel Boone's quarters and was there informed that the writ could not be executed, as, under orders received, the military authorities would not permit it. The sheriff so made return to the court, and has, as he informs me this morning, been again directed peremptorily by the judge to execute the writ at every hazard.

"The sheriff came to me to know what would be our course if he should raise the posse comitatus in obedience to the writ. My answer was that the United States forces would use no aggression, but that I wished him and the judge to understand distinctly that the writ could only be executed by overpowering the United States troops in open fight, and that it became all concerned to consider well before they became overt traitors by levying war against the Federal government; that I should regard them as public enemies at the first overt act and use the utmost vigor against them; and that after suppressing any disturbance they might create, my first duty would be to arrest the judge and himself and hand them over to the United States courts to be tried for treason. I likewise expressed my surprise that in a matter which was avowedly an undisguised attempt to bring the State authorities into open conflict with the National government, he had not appealed to the governor of the State, its chief executive (he being himself but a subordinate), for instructions. As he professed embarrassment as to his duty, I told him I would state what in my opinion a loyal sheriff should do in such a case; and that was to make a written return upon the writ saying that it could not be obeyed without levying open war against the United States, and was therefore returned unexecuted.... In view of the circumstances, I have thought best to lay the matter before you, that you may, if you see proper, direct the sheriff to take no steps calculated to bring the State and National authorities into collision, without full communication with and instruction from yourself as chief executive. I have no concern as to the success of any forcible attempt upon Colonel Boone, but regard it as very desirable that no such attempt should be made, and especially that it should not be precipitated, without your knowledge, by the action of the Probate Court of this county in overruling a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.

"I shall forward a copy of this letter to the Secretary of War for his information, and have the honor to remain," etc.

There were some amusing incidents connected with the sheriff's embarrassment which could not properly appear in my letter to the governor. Both he and the Probate judge were candidates for re-election, and it seemed certain that the aggressive Vallandigham faction in the party would control the nominations in the party convention. In such excited times extreme men are almost sure to take the lead. The sheriff saw very clearly that there was nothing profitable to him in a forcible attack upon the United States troops in barracks, and knew that a call upon the posse would be responded to by nobody but ruffians of the criminal class who might like an opportunity to gather as a mob with a pretext of lawful authority. He complained to me with a comical distress that the judge had taken advantage of him to gain with the extremists of his party the credit for bold defiance of the government, whilst he, the sheriff, was left to bear the brunt of the real danger. I had told him in an earlier interview that if he called out the posse it would be his duty to lead it in person, and had intimated that I should direct the soldiers to save bloodshed by carefully marking the leaders in an attack. I now suggested that if he should inform the judge that he should summon him first as one of the posse and require him to march beside him, he would probably find the zeal for a collision diminished.

Whatever were the reasons which controlled, there was no posse summoned, and I heard no more of the arrest of Colonel Boone. Both judge and sheriff lived to look back upon the episode in their lives with other feelings than those which excited them nearly to desperation in that singular political campaign. It was not always easy to draw a satisfactory line in dealing practically with such powdery elements and social conditions as those of 1863, but the best results seemed to come from carefulness not to provoke unnecessary collision with political prejudices and not to interfere with personal liberty more than was necessary, whilst showing inexorable firmness in carrying out such measures as we had to adopt. Two cases which arose in Dayton made it necessary to distinguish between two possible courses, and though there was a good deal of difference in judgment among loyal men I thought the event fully justified us in that which we pursued.

The arrest of Vallandigham had left a certain class of people in Dayton on the verge of violent outbreak. A mob had wrecked the publishing office of the Union party paper, and we had kept a small garrison at the city to preserve the peace, The "roughs" of the place were insolent to the soldiers and their officers, and it required firm discipline to keep our men as patient as we wished them to be. One day a wrangle began, and one of the city "rowdies" pulled a pistol and fired upon a soldier. We arrested the criminal, but whilst we held him, an indictment was found against him in the local court, and he was demanded by the civil authorities for trial. We knew very well that in any jury of that county enough partisans of Vallandigham would be found to prevent a conviction, but I ordered the man to be delivered up. This was pretty sharply criticised by the more ardent Union men, but I answered that it was necessary to find out whether justice could be administered by the civil authorities before applying military rule.

The delivery of the man was no doubt looked upon as an act of timidity, and it was not long before we had a repetition of the offence. I had taken pains to have the garrison at Dayton carefully instructed that they must be patient and cool, avoiding every provocation, but if attacked, the aggressor must be punished on the spot. In the second case, the man who drew his weapon was instantly shot down. There was now a demand for the soldier to be tried by the local civil court; but I said that the boot was on the other foot. The charge against the soldier was for an act performed in the line of his military duty, and of this our military courts had cognizance. The case was investigated by a military tribunal and the man justified. The result was every way satisfactory. Assaulting soldiers lost its attractiveness to town bullies, and the case in which the civilian had been left to the action of the civil courts was a standing proof of the inefficiency of those tribunals in matters where partisan passions entered, and where the unanimity of a jury was consequently impossible.

The State election occurred in October, and although there had been great fears of rioting and bloodshed, these fears were happily disappointed. There had been enough of the preliminary education as to the relations of the military authorities to the preservation of the peace, to make it generally understood that disturbances would be dangerous. The soldiers were, however, kept carefully out of sight except as they exercised their personal right to vote. They were under arms at their barracks, and no leaves of absence were given. These precautions were all that was needed. In Cincinnati the election was said to be one of the quietest and most orderly ever known. The people seemed to appreciate the gravity of the situation and to realize that it must be soberly and thoughtfully met. Hosts of men who would willingly have been in opposition to the administration party on questions of economy or of details in the conduct of the war declined to vote for Vallandigham, whose utterances had been the great matter of debate during the canvass, and whose disloyalty being thus brought home to the voters in every neighborhood, had repelled all but the most passionate of his party friends. John Brough, the Union party candidate, himself a "war democrat," was elected governor by an unprecedented majority of over a hundred thousand. The soldiers' vote had helped to swell this majority, and as returns had to be made from polling-places opened for each Ohio regiment in the field, there was considerable delay before the extent of the political victory was fully known. The home vote was enough for every practical purpose, and it, of course, was known at once. The returns from the army vote kept adding to the majority, and gave, day by day, a new stimulus to political interest, one party rejoicing over the unanimity of the country's defenders, and the other affecting to see dangers of military despotism. For this reason it was fortunate that the soldiers' vote was not necessary to decide the election, and that without it Brough's triumph went beyond any ordinary measure of party success.

The remarkable result of the election was felt throughout the country as an indication of renewed determination of the people that the war must be fought out to the complete crushing of the Rebellion and the restoration of the Union. There was a noticeable crystallization of public opinion after it. Reasonable men in the defeated party found it easy to accept conclusions which were backed up by so great majorities. Agitation was quieted, and there was an evident disposition to acquiesce in what was so evidently the popular current.

My aversion for the anomalous position of a military commandant out of the actual field of war had not been lessened by my experiences of the summer, and both directly and indirectly I renewed my requests for a field command. I had been told that the Secretary of War awaited only an opening which would permit him to assign me to duty with the advanced grade which had been given me after Antietam, and I had been advised, in a way that seemed authoritative, to wait patiently for this. It became evident in the autumn that such waiting was likely to be profitless as well as wearisome. A regular army officer had a backing in the esprit de corps at the departments, and Halleck was watchful to give the full weight of his official influence in favor of such a one. It was, perhaps naturally, assumed that a volunteer would be assisted by political friends, and if he did not make use of such influence he would fall between two stools. After my first appointment I was never aware of receiving any help from these personal influences, and had gotten whatever recognition I had from my immediate commanders in the field. Burnside had intimated that if Hartsuff's ill health should make that officer retire from the command of the Twenty-third Corps, he would assign me to it in the expectation that the corresponding rank would then be conferred by the President. If I have any regret respecting my own action in seeking active duty, it is that I did not ask for the command of one of the divisions in the corps on the movement into East Tennessee. It was Burnside's wish that I should remain in Cincinnati and I acquiesced; but I have had a lingering belief that my influence with him would have helped decide him to remain in the West had I been with him in Knoxville in October and November. Be that as it may, I was fully determined after the Ohio election was over to cease looking for anything more than a field command, according to my present rank, and to be urgent till I obtained it.

In this year the first volume of Kinglake's "History of the Crimean War" was published, and reading it in the intervals of other duty in Cincinnati, I found in it lessons of hope and confidence in our armies that were to me both stimulating and encouraging. It would not be strange if an English soldier should feel that Kinglake was quite too frank in his revelation of the mistakes and discouragements which attended England's first military operations after the "forty years' peace." But it was precisely this photographic realism and unreserve which gave the book its peculiar value. I found Lord Raglan and his subordinates intelligent men, feeling their way through doubts and mistakes to a new experimental knowledge of their task. I compared them and their work with what I had seen in our own service when a great army had to be organized and put in the field and everything had to be created anew. I saw that we had been no worse off than our neighbors, and that our tuition in the school of experience had gone on quite as rapidly as theirs. I thanked Kinglake in my heart for telling us that Raglan tested what he was doing by asking himself how "the Duke" would have done had he been there. It was only another way of applying the lessons of past experience to the present duty; but it seemed peculiarly human that the English general in the perplexities of his troublesome problem in the Crimea should summon up the shade of Wellington and ask how the practical soldier of the Spanish Peninsular War would act were he deciding for his old staff officer what he must do at the Alma or in front of Sebastopol.

The student of military history sees that the weak points in the British army on the peace establishment had been that systematic and continuous preparation for active war had not been insisted on. It needed the organizing genius of Roon and Moltke in the Prussian army to make such a mobilization as that of 1866 and that of 1870, and to show what is possible in preparing an armed host to take the field. Preparation for war has had a totally different meaning since those campaigns, and the start of a day or two in reaching the field was shown to involve the winning and losing a great campaign. As matters stood in 1854, however, the great military powers of Europe should be considered as having only the raw material of armies as they had depots of military stores, and true organization in every department had to be effected after a declaration of war. Studying it in 1863, it seemed to me that the only advantage England or France would have had over us at the outbreak of the Rebellion would have been in the greater number of men partly drilled and the greater quantities of arms and ammunition in store. Kinglake taught us that others would have had to go through most of the discouragements we had experienced, and that our aptitude in learning had been perhaps greater than theirs would have been. His unreserved disclosure of the errors and the miseries of the siege of Sebastopol was infinitely more instructive than any history which hid the humiliating facts and covered all with the glamour and glory of the final success. His faithful dealing was in the line of true discipline, though the reading of his story must have been a sore chastisement of spirit for many an English soldier and statesman. It was more effective than the comments of any "war correspondent," however capable; for it was free from every suspicion of unfriendliness, and was written with the fullest access to official evidence. I cannot help believing that the book was no small factor in the general movement in Europe toward a much more scientific comprehension and a much better practical mastery of the elements of army organization and administration in times of peace.

But what I am quite sure of is that its perusal was a source of great comfort and encouragement to me in the midst of our own struggle; because it assured me, as I compared Raglan's experience with ours, that we had not gone so far astray in learning our lesson, and were not so completely on the dunces' bench, as I had been disposed to fear. We had plenty of blunders to confess, and there was no room for over-confidence; but the book prompted every earnest soldier among us to believe that we could make still better use of our experience, and to feel bolder in relying on his own judgment and courage in drawing new expedients from our peculiar circumstances and in developing new adaptations of military science to our own campaigns. Staff schools cannot turn out great generals to order, and the man who leads will continue to be more important than any other element of an army; but no leader can work well with dull and antiquated tools, and the present generation can hardly see a great war begun with so little adequate preparation for it as was common before our great civil strife.

On the 9th of November the humdrum routine at my district headquarters was interrupted by a dispatch from the officer commanding at Detroit, Michigan, giving warning of what was more explicitly reported in one of the 10th, saying that he was positively informed that within forty-eight hours two armed steamers would attack Johnson's Island and release the prisoners held there. [Footnote: Official Records, series ii. vol. vi. pp. 491, 495, 635.]

The military prison at Johnson's Island was built for the confinement of Confederate officers who had been captured in battle, and their number was so large that to release them would be an enterprise of no little importance, if successful. The island lay in Sandusky Bay, within a few hours' sail of several Canadian ports. Its garrison consisted of a single regiment which had all the employment it needed to furnish the ordinary prison guards, and would be entirely too weak to oppose any considerable force attacking from without, especially as it would be prudent to assume that such an attack would be accompanied by an outbreak of the prisoners within.

I immediately communicated with Governor Tod and with the Commissary of Prisoners at Washington, Colonel Hoffman, and on the same day sent a battery of three-inch rifled cannon and 500 newly raised recruits to Sandusky. I telegraphed the Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, our consul-general at Montreal, asking what he could learn in Canada as to the threatened expedition. He thought it was the mere "bombast" of Confederate emissaries and refugees in the Canadian provinces, and made light of it. On the 12th, however, the Secretary of War telegraphed me that Lord Lyons, the British ambassador, confirmed the report, and directed me to take energetic action to defeat the expected raid. The dispatch reached me at nine o'clock in the morning, and as it would be necessary to consult with the governor and get him to call out a force of State militia, I telegraphed him that I would go to Columbus on the half-past-ten train from Cincinnati, and asked him to be ready to call out the militia as soon as I could see him. I then sent messages to the commandants of militia regiments near the railway line, requesting them to call out their men at once in anticipation of an order from the governor to proceed to Sandusky. I also communicated with my subordinates in command at Detroit, Sandusky, and Columbus, giving a hint of my purposes. Finding I was likely to be late at the railway station, I sent a message to Mr. Woodward, the superintendent of the Little Miami Railroad, asking him to hold the train for me. The train had gone when the message reached him, but he ordered out an extra locomotive, and when I reached the station it was under orders to overtake the regular train. With an aide-de-camp I mounted the locomotive, and we were off at speed. The train was overtaken at Xenia, half-way to Columbus, and I was able to keep my appointment with the governor.

It happened that there was at this time a plot also to take the camp of military prisoners at Columbus, indicating a wide-spread scheme among the Confederate prisoners in Ohio, and General Mason, who commanded there, did not think it would be safe to reduce his garrison. The governor acted at once upon my suggestion, and ordered out the militia regiments which I had warned before leaving Cincinnati. My regular train had gone on, but Mr. Woodward had provided for a special one from Columbus, and we were soon speeding on in the hope of making the connection with a train going West on the Lake Shore Railway. The connection was made, though it became necessary to make what was then regarded as extraordinary speed to do it. Over one stretch of the road we ran twenty miles in eighteen minutes by the watch, and our average rate was high enough to make it a noteworthy journey. I reached Sandusky at midnight, and found reports of the militia regiments already on the way, and that the hostile expedition had not yet left Canada.

There is always a considerable amount of business labor connected with the sudden assembly of new troops in a city like Sandusky. Provision must be made for quarters and for their subsistence. The militia were not like troops accustomed to take the field, and were not provided with tents. The autumn was well advanced, and severe winter weather was likely to come at any time. Competent officers had to be selected to take responsible charge of each of the supply departments, including arms and ammunition. A battery of Parrott-rifled cannon was ordered to report to me as well as some heavy coast artillery. The first organization of means to look after the coming troops and the artillery being made, the next duty was a personal reconnoissance of my field of operations. A gentleman put at my disposal a small sailing yacht of light draught, and with a good crew and a fresh breeze the principal points of the lower bay were visited, including Johnson's Island.

Sandusky Bay is the largest land-locked body of water connected with Lake Erie. It is some twenty miles long by three or four wide, its length running east and west, and narrow tongues of land separating it from the lake. The mouth of the bay is about a mile wide, but the water is quite shallow except in the narrow channel, which is sinuous and runs very close to Cedar Point, the extremity of the long, low sandy cape which separates the eastern part of the bay from the open water. A lighthouse on the point and range lights near it give direction to vessels approaching, which run from the northwest, head on, till they seem almost ashore at the foot of the lighthouse tower, when they turn sharply to the southwest, the channel being zigzag up to the city, which lies on the southeast shore. It did not need a second glance to determine that Cedar Point was the place to fortify, and that batteries there would rake any vessel approaching the harbor, as well as on its way in, if it should succeed in passing the point.

Johnson's Island lies a mile or two inside the entrance to the bay on the western side. A narrow channel separates it from the land on that side, which is a high rocky peninsula called Marblehead. The island had been cultivated as a farm, containing a hundred acres or more, with some pleasant groves amid the fields, and with a gently undulating surface which gave it an agreeable variety and a picturesque appearance. The landing at the island was on the bay side, three or four miles from the city wharves. If a hostile force should land on the peninsula at Marblehead, it could not reach the island by reason of the channel which separates it from the land on the west. The only chance of success for such a raid was to make a surprise of it before Cedar Point could be fortified, to enter the bay and land a force sufficient to overpower the prison garrison before it should be reinforced.

Under the terms of the treaty with Great Britain, our navy was represented by a single vessel of war on Lake Erie, the steamer "Michigan," which carried a battery of eight or ten guns. She was ordered to Sandusky to co-operate with me at the same time that I was directed to go there. She was commanded by Captain John Carter, a bluff and hearty seaman of the old school, whom I found cordially ready to work with me in the most perfect harmony and mutual understanding. I lost no time in transporting my two rifled batteries to Cedar Point, and throwing up hasty earthworks to cover them. From the moment they were in position it was certain that no unarmed steamboat could enter the harbor. A part of my infantry was encamped in rear of the batteries, covered by a grove of evergreen trees, near enough to support the guns if an effort were made to land there. The rest of the infantry was assigned to increase the garrison on Johnson's Island itself. The news had spread that there was a concentration of our forces at Sandusky, and by the time we were ready for an attack the raiders were well aware that their plans had failed.

Their project had not been a hopeless one if they could have kept it secret, but that was almost impossible. The leaders in it were commonly reported to have been some of Morgan's men who had made their way to Canada when he was captured. By the aid of Confederate agents they had procured the means to organize a considerable band of adventurers, and had chartered two steamboats which were to meet them at the mouth of the Detroit River. The assembly of such a body of men attracted the attention of the Canadian authorities, and information was sent to Lord Lyons at Washington. Our officers at Detroit also got wind of it, and employed the police and detectives to ferret out the facts. The raiders had assembled, and the boats were ready, when, on the 14th of November, they learned that their plans were exposed and the chance to succeed was lost. The less eager ones were quick to abandon the enterprise, and the bolder spirits found themselves reduced to a handful. So they scattered, threatening to try it again at some more convenient time.

As soon as the work of preparation at Cedar Point was well under way, I accepted the invitation of Captain Carter to make a reconnoissance in the "Michigan." We sailed out of the harbor and made the tour of the beautiful group of islands known as the Bass Islands, in the midst of which is the little harbor of Put-in-Bay. We were on the classic ground where Perry had won his naval victory in the War of 1812, and although we found no trace of the threatened raid, the circumstances which took us there added to the interest with which we examined the scene of Perry's glory. On my return I reported to the Secretary of War that all present danger had passed, and asked to be allowed to send the militia home. The weather had become stormy, and the State troops naturally became impatient when the need of their continued exposure seemed to be at an end. They were soon allowed to go, but it was wisely determined to put the heavy guns in a fortification on the island, where they could command the entrance to the bay and yet be so connected with the permanent garrison as to avoid the establishment of two camps with the necessary increase of expense as well as numbers.

This delayed me a fortnight at Sandusky, and the delay was quite as unwelcome to me as to the militia. I had been away from Cincinnati but a few days when I received a dispatch from General Burnside, saying that if I was still minded to accept a field command he thought he could give me one of his corps. As this was exactly what I had been wishing for, it will be easily believed that I chafed at the circumstances which seemed to tie me to the shore of Lake Erie when I longed to be on my way to East Tennessee. I laid the matter before the War Department by telegraph, and begged to be allowed to go. Mr. Stanton answered on the 22d that I could not yet leave Sandusky. I hurried the work to be done there with all possible energy, so as to remove the cause of delay, and on the 3d of December was gratified to learn that the order had been issued directing me to report in person to the general in command at Knoxville. I was not informed that I should not find Burnside there when I should arrive, and assumed that my work at Sandusky was the only cause of delay in my orders to go; but I was soon to learn of other changes which I did not anticipate.

My stay at Sandusky gave me the opportunity to make an inspection of the military prison at Johnson's Island, and I availed myself of it. As only officers were confined there, the high average intelligence and character of these would of course show itself in their personal habits and in their methods of employing the time, which hung heavy on their hands. In all such situations the energy and hopefulness of the individual are the best guaranty for continued good health, whilst ennui, listlessness, and idleness are the pretty sure forerunners of melancholy and homesickness, which lead to serious maladies. It would be hard to find a more salubrious site for a camp than Johnson's Island. Naturally well drained, diversified with grove and meadow, open to the breeze from every quarter, washed by the pure waters of Lake Erie, it is to-day, as it was then, a beautiful and attractive spot. The winter there is not usually severe. The vast body of water comprising the Great Lakes modifies the climate and tempers it so that the autumn is generally prolonged and pleasant. Winter begins late, but is apt to be changeable and disagreeable, and a raw and backward spring, with chilling winds off the frozen waters, is the part of the year most to be dreaded. Native Ohioans insist that there is no climate more wholesome and pleasant than this lake-shore belt, which is now the land of continuous vineyards and peach orchards. A native of the Gulf States would, however, find its winter and spring severe and trying, more from sudden changes than from any extremely low temperature. Taking it all in all, it is probable that no place for a prison camp could be found in the Northern States which would be liable to fewer objections.

The prison itself was constructed in the manner which seemed simplest and cheapest. A large square on the sloping hillsides was surrounded with a high wooden fence. On the outside of this, near the top, was a gallery or balcony supported on brackets.

This was the walk for the sentinels, and from it they had a commanding view of the interior of the enclosure. Sentry-boxes, looking like turrets, were at the corners and at intervals on the sides. Within, the barracks for the prisoners were on the west or northwest side, leaving the larger space open in front for exercise. The buildings were of pine boards, roughly but well constructed, so that they were dry and tight. Rows of bunks ran along the sides, filled with beds of straw. The shelter and accommodation was decidedly better than that which we made for our own troops at Camp Dennison, our first camp of instruction. Through most of the year there was no ground for complaint. In winter, and especially on winter nights, it would be impossible to keep up anything like a steady temperature, and the thin shell of the building would soon chill through in a nipping and frosty air. We had to meet this difficulty in all winter quarters for troops, and there seemed to be no way to remove it. If one could be heavily clad, it was generally more healthful to endure a steady low temperature, than to meet the alternations of heat and cold which came of the replenishing and dying out of the fires in stoves during the long winter night. As many men have many minds, it was almost impossible to secure anything like system in a long shed-like building occupied by a little democracy of hundreds of persons.

The food was plain but good in quality, similar to the army ration, and at the time of my visit was abundant. I took occasion to go through the barracks unattended by the officers of the garrison, and encouraged the prisoners to make known any complaints. There were practically none that were not necessarily incident to the position of a prisoner of war in actual confinement. The loss of liberty, the weary pacing of the enclosure in front of their barracks, the lack of interesting occupation, home-sickness, and general discomfort,--these were the ills of which they spoke. Among the prisoners was General Jeff. Thompson, of Missouri,--the ranking officer among them, as I recollect,--and I sought an introduction to him and talked with him in regard to the prison life. He was depressed and ailing, though not consenting to go into hospital, and spoke feelingly of the discouraging monotony and ennui of their existence, but made no complaint of the administration of the prison in any way. To be exchanged was the burden of their wishes and prayers, and in this every one with ordinary human sympathies must feel with them. Games of chess, draughts, dominoes, and cards were their indoor amusements, and some of the more energetic kept up an attempt at regular out-door exercise.

It happened that the chief surgeon of the camp was an old neighbor of mine, Dr. M. C. Woodworth, and I questioned him closely as to the medical and sanitary condition. He was a man of the highest character in his profession and as a citizen. I had absolute confidence in his uprightness as well as his ability. His statements fully corroborated the conclusions I drew from my own observation. I was fully satisfied that the garrison administration was honest and humane, and that the prisoners suffered only such evils as were necessarily incident to confinement in a narrow space, and to life in temporary barracks of the kind used in all military camps.

I learned that those prisoners who had means of their own were permitted to open private accounts with merchants and bankers in the city of Sandusky, and had little difficulty in increasing their physical comforts in many ways. Since the war I have conversed with business men of that town who personally knew of these arrangements, and who have given me details of remittances and credits furnished to prisoners, and of some considerable investments made for them. A certain surveillance was necessary in such cases to give assurance that no unlawful advantage was taken of such opportunities, but there was very little if any reason to believe such leniency was abused.



CHAPTER XXX

A WINTER RIDE ON THE CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS

Ordered to East Tennessee--Preparation for a long ride--A small party of officers--Rendezvous at Lexington, Ky.--Changes in my staff--The escort-A small train--A gay cavalcade--The blue-grass country--War-time roads--Valley of the Rockcastle--Quarters for the night--London--Choice of routes--Longstreet in the way--A turn southward--Williamsburg--Meeting Burnside--Fording the Cumberland--Pine Mountain--A hard pull--Teamsters' chorus--Big Creek Gap--First view of East Tennessee--Jacksboro--A forty-mile trot--Escape from unwelcome duty--In command of Twenty-third Corps--The army-supply problem--Siege bread--Starved beef--Burnside's dinner to Sherman.

The order of the War Department directing me to report in person to the general commanding in East Tennessee was issued on the 2nd of December. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 314.] It was to take effect when I should have completed my duties at Sandusky, but as I had pressed all my work forward to completion some days before, in the expectation of the order, I was prepared to leave at once. A copy of the order was telegraphed to me on the 3rd, and I left for Cincinnati the same evening. On reaching the district and department headquarters, I learned that Burnside was relieved, and that General Foster had passed through the city, going on toward East Tennessee to assume command of the department. Longstreet raised the siege of Knoxville the very day I reached Cincinnati, but this was not yet known, and several days passed before we had authentic information that the way to Knoxville was open. There was work to do in closing up the business of the district, packing papers and books pertaining to my headquarters, and providing for their safe-keeping. A number of officers belonging to Burnside's command were waiting an opportunity to rejoin the army, and I arranged a rendezvous for these at Lexington, Ky., where I would join them. A small troop of cavalry was detailed to act as our escort, and the quartermaster's department promised wagons for our baggage and supplies. On the 8th the news of Longstreet's retreat indicated that the road through Cumberland Gap to Knoxville was probably open, and sending our horses and baggage to Lexington by railroad, I left Cincinnati with my staff on Wednesday, the 9th, for the same place. Reaching there at evening, the next day was spent in packing our wagons and organizing our little party, and the cavalcade marched out of the pretty town of Lexington early on the 11th.

My staff was not altogether the same as it was in my Virginia campaigns. I had lost my friend, Surgeon Holmes, by death. He had been assigned to duty with me in Cincinnati, but his lungs had become diseased through exposure in the field, and he had died of consumption a few weeks before. My aide Captain Christie was similarly affected, and resigned to prolong his life. He ultimately died of the illness thus contracted. My aide Lieutenant Conine was appointed colonel of one of the new colored regiments, and went with it to Virginia. Major Bascom, my adjutant-general, Major Treat, my commissary, and Lieutenant Theodore Cox, my aide-de-camp, were ordered to accompany me, and were all that remained of my old staff. In the place of Conine I secured the detail of Captain E. D. Saunders, assistant-adjutant-general, who had served temporarily on my staff during the preceding season. He was the son of an old resident of Cincinnati, an excellent officer in his department as well as a gallant soldier, and he remained with me in closest relations till he fell by my side in the Atlanta campaign in the following year. His assignment as aide-de-camp was out of the usual course, but it was allowed in view of the contingency that Major Bascom could not remain with me if I should not continue in command of an army corps. In this case Saunders would become my adjutant-general, and this was what in fact occurred a little later.

At Lexington I found a group of ten or a dozen officers who were eager to join my party in the ride over the mountains. The one of highest rank was Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. Strong of General Foster's staff, who had been allowed a short leave of absence when his chief started for the West, and was now hastening back to duty. I found a ground for pleasant acquaintance with him in his relationship to Bishop Bedell of Ohio, a venerated friend of mine as long as he lived. Colonel Strong was a brother of Mrs. Bedell, and was a refined and cultivated gentleman. Lieutenant-Colonel James T. Sterling of the One Hundred and Third Ohio Infantry was also on his way to join his regiment at Knoxville. He had been a captain in the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served with me in my first campaign in West Virginia, where I had become attached to him for his military as well as his personal character. He became my inspector-general in the field. Captain D. W. H. Day, assistant quartermaster, was also en route to the Twenty-third Corps in the field, and was directed to take charge of our little train. His unbounded energy and his power to surmount obstacles so impressed me that on our reaching Knoxville I had him also assigned to permanent duty with me in his department. The others passed out of the circle of permanent acquaintances when the journey was over, but they were all pleasant travelling companions, and one or two of them would have been remarkable anywhere for their wit and cheerfulness. It was as happy and jolly a party as one need wish for in a rough ride of a couple of hundred miles over the mountains.

Our escort turned out to be only twenty horsemen instead of a full troop, but these were enough for protection against mere marauders, and we had to take the chance of meeting organized bodies of the enemy. Four army wagons were furnished us. One of these was loaded with oats for our horses, and carried the personal baggage of the cavalry troop. Another was loaded with ordinary army rations. A third was devoted to mess supplies of the officers of the party, and as we were going into a country wasted by war and almost famine-stricken, we each tried to carry with us a small stock of choice provisions which might eke out a little comfort to the mess. The fourth wagon carried our personal baggage. Captain Day had carefully selected strong and serviceable horses for the teams, and the wagons were minutely inspected to see that they were fit for the mountain work in a wilderness where wheelwrights could not be found. It was our purpose to get both forage and provisions on the road if we could buy them, and to save the stock in our wagons for a time of necessity or to carry as much as possible into Knoxville.

I had telegraphed to Burnside as soon as I reached Cincinnati, formally reporting myself as under his orders for duty in the field by permission of the Secretary of War. I expressed my regret to hear of his leaving the command, and urged my assignment to duty before he laid down his authority. No answer to my dispatch was received, and the fact was that full communication with Burnside by the Cumberland Gap route was not opened till the 9th of December, so that my letter was among the correspondence received by Burnside the day he turned over the command to Foster. Another cause of uneasiness to me was the change of department boundaries made in the order assigning General Foster to command. The States north of the Ohio were separated from the department, and I was apprehensive that other changes might occur which would make me fall between two stools. That there was danger of just such disappointments turned out to be very true. My anxious determination to get forward to Knoxville with the least possible delay was justified, and I had reason to congratulate myself on acting promptly upon it.

Our cavalcade presented a gay appearance as we marched out of Lexington on Friday morning. There were twelve or fifteen officers, all well mounted and followed by a group of servants riding and leading our extra horses. Part of the cavalry troop led the way, the guidons fluttering in the van. Behind us came an ambulance and the army wagons with clean white canvas covers and well-groomed teams of four horses each, driven in army fashion by a driver astride of the near wheel-horse, a mounted wagon-master superintending the whole. The little column was closed by a squad of the cavalry acting as rear-guard. There had not been any severe winter weather as yet, and though the road was sloppy, the sun was bright overhead, and its beams flashed from our side-arms and equipments. Our first day's ride was to take us to Richmond, a thriving town twenty-five miles away, the county-seat of Madison County, and a good turnpike road made this an easy day's journey. We were in the rich blue-grass region, and though all of central Kentucky showed the marks of war's ravages, this region was comparatively unscathed, and the beautiful rolling country was neither abandoned nor untilled. Horses and cattle were noticeably few, for raids like Morgan's had been frequent enough to teach the peril of having flocks and herds to tempt the enemy. Farmers gave more attention than before to agriculture proper and the raising of crops which would directly support the family. There was nothing dispiriting in the view of the country on this first day's ride, and though a winter landscape can hardly be exhilarating when it is leafless and bare, gray, and a little sombre in color, we found ourselves under no stress of sympathy with misfortune or want, as is so often the case with the soldier.

On leaving Richmond our really rough work began. The roads would have been bad enough at any time, but the hard use by army trains in bad weather and the entire lack of repair had made them execrable. All the ordinary methods of keeping highways in order by local administration were suspended by the war, and the only work done upon them was what each wagon-master could do with his drivers to mend the worst places so that his train could get through. As we could not be sure of finding food for man or beast on the road, it was necessary to gauge our speed by the distance our wagons could make, so that we should not be separated from them. About twenty miles a day was the maximum, and though we sometimes got a little further, there were days when our journey was much less. South of Richmond and on the border between Madison and Rockcastle counties, we crossed Big Hill, the first of the outlying ranges of the Cumberland Mountains. These great ridges are nearly parallel to each other, and even the "gaps" in them are so high that there is always a long and hard pull for wagon teams in surmounting them. Over the summit we came down into the valleys tributary to the Rockcastle River. Twenty or twenty-five miles away another summit marks the boundary between this valley and the principal depression in which the Cumberland River finds its devious course to the south and west. The rocks are sandstone through which the Rockcastle River has cut deep gorges and chasms, and the weathering of the cliffs has left the strata and crevices exposed with so much of the regularity of layers of masonry as to tell at once the story of the impression made on the early explorers of the region, and the suggestion by Nature herself of a name for the beautiful stream that dashes along to join the Cumberland many miles below.

Our second day's journey ended far from any village or tavern, in this romantic valley. A pouring rain had begun about noon, and we plodded and splashed along till we reached a large log house which seemed a convenient halting-place as far advanced as our wagons could be brought. The house belonged to a thrifty widow. Half of it was simply furnished, and in this part she and her children lived. The other half was a large unfurnished room with the walls of hewn logs and a great fireplace of stone in the middle of the long side of the room. Out of this opened a little bedroom, a mere closet, in which the spare bed for guests was placed. The widow put these two rooms at our disposal. A roaring fire was soon burning on the hearth, our saddles and horse trappings were arranged on the sides of the room to serve as pillows, and blankets were brought in from the ambulance. Supper was got, partly from our own stores, cooked with the help of the family, and we were early ready for bed. The guest chamber was assigned to me, but it was so small that for the sake of ventilation the door was kept open, and the ruddy firelight flashed upon as picturesque and as merry a group as one could wish to see. A weary day in the saddle made all of us ready for sleep, and quips and jokes soon died out as one after another seemed to drop off into forgetfulness. The physical fatigue of the day made one of the party develop a phenomenal capacity for snoring in his heavy sleep, and in the quiet his nasal trumpeting grew more pronounced. It proceeded by phrases, as it were, each effort stronger than the preceding, till a fortissimo passage came and ended with a snort which echoed through the room and was followed by perfect silence. From the corner of the room came a drawling voice with a sigh as of deep relief, "Thank God he's dead." The shout of laughter which followed showed that nearly all had roused themselves for the finale, and the badgered performer of the music lost much of the real comfort of his night's rest by his fear of committing himself to a complete oblivion which might subject him to another chaffing bout from his companions.

Another wet and uncomfortable day's ride brought us to London, an unattractive village at the parting of the ways, the principal road leading on to Cumberland Gap, and another on the right going to a ford of the Cumberland River at Williamsburg, where there would be again a choice of routes up the Elk Fork of the Cumberland between the ridges known as Jellico Mountain and Pine Mountain. The left wing of Burnside's column had taken this route in October, and after crossing the Cumberland had climbed Jellico Mountain on their right hand, and reached the headwaters of Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee which breaks through the mountains at Emory Gap, the easiest route into East Tennessee. Another road kept in the valley of Elk Fork till a place was reached where Pine Mountain, on the left, could be scaled, and once over its summit a hard road led to Big Creek Gap in the Cumberland Mountains, and thence by way of Jacksboro to Knoxville.

At London we were met with news from East Tennessee which made me reconsider the question of our route. We heard from Cumberland Gap that after General Foster had joined Burnside at Knoxville, Longstreet had moved in force to Rutledge, where he intercepted this line of communication, and that Knoxville could not be reached by that road for some time to come. This seemed to make it necessary to turn off to the south. As between the road to Emory Gap over Jellico Mountain and that to Big Creek Gap over Pine Mountain, the best evidence seemed to indicate the latter as the easier, but with the qualification which travellers in so wild a region have often to face, that whichever way you go you will wish you had gone the other. The name of Williamsburg on the Cumberland sounded as if it might be a considerable town, but the man who gave us the route warned us that we should find "it's not much of a 'burg neither when you git thar." Our ride into London had been on Sunday, and was surely a work of necessity if not of mercy. Captain B. had found his horse a little shaky in coming down the steep hills, and at one little stream the jaded beast came down on his knees in the water. The captain with affected seriousness argued that it was a punishment for travelling on the day of rest, but was effectually silenced by the wag of the party, who humorously remarked, "Ah! if your horse is so weak on Sunday what would have become of him and you on a week day?" London did not afford us any lodgings that tempted us indoors, and we wrapped ourselves in our blankets and slept on the open veranda of a dilapidated house, building a camp-fire in the yard in front. The rain had ceased, and we preferred the frosty air to the narrow and stuffy quarters we should otherwise have had to take.

The evening of the 14th of December brought us to the Cumberland River, and as it was rising from the heavy rain of the preceding week, we should have been glad to get over at once, but the wagons could not overtake us till night, and we stopped at a country-house on the north side where we were made quite comfortable. About one o'clock in the morning, however, I was awakened by voices in the room below me, and recognized that of Captain French of Burnside's staff, who was asking the farmer to light a fire and prepare to receive the general and his party, who were a little behind, wet and nearly frozen. I got up and dressed myself, went downstairs to greet the captain, who was soon joined by the rest of the party. The general had come by the route I was taking, but his wagons had broken down on the mountain-side, and he had been obliged to abandon them. The party had picked up somewhere an old-fashioned stage-coach on thorough braces, and this was drawn by ten mules. They had packed on the backs of other mules such of their personal effects and stores as they could, and had left the rest by the roadside. They had halted for the night on the south side of the river, but at midnight had been roused by the news that the river was rising, and that they must pass the ford at once if they expected to get over. In the darkness of the night it had been both difficult and perilous, for the ford was diagonal to the course of the stream, and there was great danger of getting into deep water. They were all soaking wet and chilled, covered with mud, and as forlorn and unkempt a set of men as was ever seen. They warmed and partly dried themselves by the fire, and pushed on as soon as day began to break, for the general was impatient to get forward. Colonel Goodrich, Colonel Richmond, Major Van Buren, and the personal staff were with him, and as my own staff had been well acquainted with them, it was an interesting rencounter with all the events of the Knoxville campaign to discuss. The general had sent his proposal to me to join him, the very day Longstreet reached the Holston River at Loudon, and when it had become evident that the Confederates were committed to an active campaign in East Tennessee. General Hartsuff had found that he could not endure the work, and had decided to leave before Knoxville should be invested. My regret that I could not start at once was diminished by the fact that the investment was complete before I could possibly have reached Knoxville, so that no time had been lost. But all the circumstances showed that Burnside had regarded his request to be relieved as indefinitely postponed, and the appointment of General Foster to succeed him was unexpected. He had not heard that I was on my way, but after meeting me sent a dispatch to Foster as soon as he reached the telegraph line. He had informed Foster at Knoxville of his purpose in having me join him, and sent this message in a friendly wish to promote my interests.

As soon as the general and his party were off, we began our preparation to cross the river. Their experience had shown that the increase of difficulty in keeping the ford at night was more than would probably come from the rise of the water. I therefore ordered everything to be ready as soon as it was broad daylight. We had eaten our breakfast and were in the saddle as soon as we could see clearly. Captain Day carefully examined the ford with a few of the cavalrymen, and fixed the landmarks which would guide us to the shallowest places. With these precautions and by carefully following directions we got over without mishap. The water did not quite reach the bodies of the wagons, and by lifting our feet out of our stirrups we got over dryshod. The stream was swift, and the only way to keep one's direction safely was to look ahead and not downward. Had we tried it in the night, we should no doubt have fared as badly as our friends who had preceded us.

A day's hard journey for the wagon teams brought us to the foot of Pine Mountain at the point where the road leaves the bed of Elk Fork to climb the steep ascent. We were now only nineteen miles from Jacksboro, in the valley of the Clinch, but the distance was multiplied by the cumulating difficulties of the way. We were not far from Cross Mountain, a ridge which, as its name indicates, connects the long parallel ranges of Jellico, Pine, and Cumberland mountains. We must climb Pine Mountain to its crest, descend along the shoulders of Cross Mountain near the head of the valley, then scale the side of Cumberland Mountain to reach Big Creek Gap, from which the valley of East Tennessee would open before us. We camped for the night and prepared for an early start in the morning. The teams were well fed and groomed, and the whole equipment was carefully inspected to see that everything was ready for the strain of the rough work of the morrow.

The morning of the 16th was fair and frosty, and we were astir early. Pine Mountain loomed before us like the steep roof of some vast gothic cathedral. The ridge seemed as straight as a house ridge, and we could not see that any natural depression made the ascent much easier in one place than another. Our road ran up a spur of the mountain till the regular slope was reached, then turning to the right it gradually mounted the steep incline by a diagonal course on a long shelf cut in the hillside, with here and there a level spot on which the teams could breathe. From where we stood in the valley the mountain face looked precipitous, and the road a mere line gradually rising along its front. It would have been bad enough if it had been a metalled road in good order; but it was only a rough track alternating in mud and rock, that had never been good even in mid-summer, and it was now next to impassable. Under the direction of Captain Day and the wagonmaster the teams were doubled, two of the wagons being left in the valley till the others should reach the summit, when the teams were to be brought back. When they came to the long and hard pull, the drivers gave us a good sample of army wagoning, their yelling and cracking of whips keeping up a continual chorus, and at specially hard points the quartermaster and wagon-master joined in the music like the baying of a pack of hounds, while the horses seemed to be stimulated to almost frantic action. This could not be kept up long, and when one of the level breathing-places was reached all subsided into quiet, while the steaming and puffing horses regained their wind for another effort.

Five miles of advance was the utmost we could make on that day, but this was fifteen for the teams, as they had to be brought down the mountain over the same road and drag up the wagons which had been left at the foot. Our party of cavaliers waited lazily in the valley till the first of the wagons were near the summit, and then rode on to overtake them on the other side of the ridge. It was an easy and picturesque ride for us who were well mounted, but a wearing labor and strain for the teamsters and their animals. We congratulated ourselves on the care with which the "outfit" had been selected at Lexington, for we came through without accident on a road where wrecks were plentier than milestones.

We had sweet slumber that night in the keen air of the mountain top, and were ready for the last day of mountain work. We were fourteen miles from Jacksboro, and were resolved to reach the little town before night. The road was unlike the long inclined plane cut in the side of Pine Mountain. We were in the midst of a mass of irregular stony hills, all of them part of the highlands between the summits of the two ranges. It was hard and rough work, but we were not obliged to double the teams again. The last ascent of the Cumberland Mountains toward Big Creek Gap was over bare rock much of the way, the sandstone strata lying horizontal, and the road being a gigantic staircase in which the steps were sometimes a foot each, but oftener more, with an occasional rise of fully four feet in the edge of the rocky outcrop. In the road the sharp edges of these stairs had been rounded off, partly by wear and a little by mechanical means, but they distinctly retained the stair-like character and looked absolutely impracticable. At the worst places the teamsters would halt and throw together stones or branches of trees to fill the angle in the rock, then mounting, a whoop and a crack of the whip was the signal for the team to dash at the obstacle. The horses' shoes would strike fire from the level rock of the long "treader" above, the wagon would be bounced up the step, when a little bit of level would bring them to another rise in the staircase. We zigzagged along as the road sought the easiest places among the rocks, and perseverance at last had its reward when we crowned the summit and looked down into the broad and beautiful valleys of the Clinch and the Holston, the lovely tributaries which form the Tennessee River.

Our first look into Big Creek Gap was a startling and pleasurable surprise which has remained indelibly fixed in memory. Clouds had been hanging about the top of the mountain, and as we ascended the last slope and reached the crest, they hung so low over us that we could almost touch them. It was not like going into a fog, as is usually the case in climbing mountains, but these seemed smooth as silk on the under surface and hung over us as well defined as the covering of a tent. This gave to the prospect an accidental and very peculiar effect that one might not see again in crossing the pass a hundred times. As we looked eastward from the depression in the crest in which our roadway ran, a great circling amphitheatre lay before us, almost perfect in the symmetry of its curves. The ridge on right and left which formed its outer margin was higher than the spot on which we stood, and the silky clouds over our heads rested on it as on the walls of a natural coliseum, like the velum of canvas of the ancient gigantic structure in Rome, except that here, nature outdoing all art, spread the lovely awning over the whole vast and cavernous auditorium a mile or more across. The gloom of the interior threw the retreating slopes into a mysterious shadow in which it were easy to imagine them peopled with ranks of ghostly auditors gazing upon the stage. It was there, full in our faces, that the most startling and almost incredible effect was visible. The circle of the mountains was there broken by an opening flanked on either side by stupendous perpendicular cliffs, and we looked through it upon a charming landscape bathed in glorious sunshine. A blue stream dashed foaming through the great gap and wandered off to join the river beyond. The broad and undulating valley fifty miles across was backed by another mountain wall which towered opposite to that from whose battlements we were gazing, not a long and level ridge like so many of those in the Alleghanies, but a picturesque Alpine mountain scene, with peaks snow-clad and dazzling in the sunlight,--the Great Smokies, the noblest of all the mountain groups of the Appalachian chain. The gloom and shadow of our vast amphitheatre held us in awe, while the brilliancy of the scene beyond the great stage opening seemed to draw us to it as to a promised land. We sat upon our horses, spellbound, gazing upon what seemed at once too grand and too beautiful to be real. Had we been superstitious like soldiers of an ancient time, we might have seen a miraculous portent in it; and even as it was, such sentiment as may be permitted in the sceptical spirit of our own day could find a happy omen in the scene. We were entering upon a new chapter in our military lives, and it was cheering to us, in entering East Tennessee, through the great gate that opened before us, to have so charming a picture to lure us on. We wound down the mountain side, happy but quiet. There was no one among us so lacking in earnest character as to be unmoved. We had left the wagons far behind, and the clinking of our horses' shoes upon the rocks was the only sound which broke the silence till the roaring and laughing brook that gives a name to the pass met us and rollicked beside us, as we went out between the giant cliffs into the broad and cheerful valley.

At Jacksboro we entered the theatre of active warlike operations, and found ourselves in the usual atmosphere of rumors. It was of course known that Longstreet had retreated to the northeast after raising the siege, but some insisted that he was moving down the valley again, and that Foster was to be shut up in Knoxville as Burnside had been. It was evident that there was no definite information on which any of these local opinions were based, and I was satisfied that our road was open and safe. The only risk was from some raiding column of cavalry, and we must take our chances as to that. After a good night's rest, I decided on the morning of the 18th to take with me Colonel Strong of General Foster's staff and Colonel Sterling, and leaving the wagons behind, to make the forty miles to Knoxville in a single day's ride. What we had heard of the destitution in the city made it seem best that most of the party should remain with the wagons and the supplies, and so avoid the risk of throwing too many guests upon the hospitality of headquarters. We took a few of the cavalry as an escort, and both horses and men were in such good condition and so hardened to the road that we scarcely broke from a trot in the whole distance, except to stop for resting and feeding our nags at noon.

We reached Knoxville in the afternoon, and Colonel Strong was warmly welcomed by those of the staff who were present, but the general was absent at the front. He was expected back the next night, however, and comfortable quarters were provided for us meanwhile. My instinctive fears of complications in regard to my own assignment to duty proved to be true. The very day I left Lexington General Foster had issued an order assigning me to command the District of Kentucky, and it had passed me on the road. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 383, 394.] My determination to obey literally the order from the War Department to report in person, and the haste with which I had started, proved my salvation from the kind of duty at the rear which I was bent on escaping. The District of Kentucky would have been even worse than that of Ohio, for the strife between political factions embroiled every one who commanded there, and the order to me had been issued because the officer in command was obnoxious to one of these factions.

General Foster returned on the 19th, and on my reporting to him I found at once the benefit of General Burnside's representations in regard to me. Colonel Strong was also well aware of my earnest wish for field service, and the friendship which had grown up on the road, no doubt, made him an influential advocate with his chief. The general received me very kindly, and said that his action had been based on the supposition that I would prefer duty in Kentucky during the winter rather than make the rough journey over the mountains at that season. On my assuring him that my coming without waiting to communicate with him was because of my earnest request to the War Department for service in the field, he was evidently pleased and immediately revoked the orders already made, and assigned me to the Twenty-third Corps, to command it as the senior general officer present. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii, p. 457.]

I had been eight days on the road from Lexington, and the rest of the party who remained with the wagons were a day longer in reaching Knoxville. It had given me a vivid appreciation of the impossibility of supplying an army in East Tennessee by wagon trains over the mountains. The roads by Cumberland Gap or by Emory Gap were less precipitous, but they were more muddy. The forage was exhausted along all the routes, and till grass should grow large trains of supplies were not to be thought of. The effort to force trains through in the autumn had been most destructive to the teams. Noticing how the way was lined by the carcasses of dead horses and mules, we kept an accurate count one day of the number of these. In the twenty miles of that day's journey we counted a hundred and fifty dead draught animals. The movement of wagon-trains had, of course, been suspended when Longstreet advanced upon Knoxville, and bad weather had hardly begun then. Beef cattle could be driven in herds, but the country was so stripped of forage that the danger of starvation by the way made this mode of supply nearly as hopeless as the other.

The only permanent solution of the subsistence problem was to be found in enlarging the facilities for railway communication at Chattanooga so that that town might become a great depot from which the East Tennessee troops could draw as soon as the railroad to Knoxville should be repaired, or light steamboats be brought to the upper Tennessee and Holston rivers. They showed us at Knoxville samples of the bread issued to the garrison during the siege. It was made of a mixture of all the breadstuffs which were in store or could be procured, but the chief ingredient was Indian corn ground up cob and all. It was not an attractive loaf, but it would support life, though the bulk was out of proportion to the nutriment. The cattle had been kept in corral till they were too thin and weak to be fit for food, but there was no other, and the commissaries killed the weakest and issued them as rations because these would otherwise die a natural death. Sherman and his staff had expressed their astonishment that an appetizing dinner had been spread for them at Burnside's headquarters; [Footnote: Sherman's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 368.] but they would have wondered more if they had known of the way in which the town and vicinity had been ransacked to do honor to the welcome guests who had relieved the beleaguered army. General Poe vividly describes the straits they were in, and the heroic sort of hospitality which had hunted far and wide for something fit to set before the leader of the column which had raised the siege. [Footnote: Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol. iii. p. 745.] There had been no danger of actual starvation, but only the coarsest of bread and the poorest of beef could be distributed. Eating, in such circumstances, was not a pleasure, and the pangs of real hunger were necessary to make the ration at all palatable. The withdrawal of the enemy relieved the situation somewhat, for it opened the country to foraging parties, and every kind of produce which money could tempt the people to part with was bought and brought into the camps. It was little enough at best, and three months of pinching want were to be endured before anything like regular supplies could be furnished to the army. It was to such a house of destitution we had come, but we had come voluntarily to share the labors and the triumphs of our comrades in the field and we had no regrets.



CHAPTER XXXI

WINTER BIVOUACS IN EAST TENNESSEE

Blain's Cross-roads--Hanson's headquarters--A hearty welcome--Establishing field quarters--Tents and houses--A good quartermaster--Headquarters' business--Soldiers' camps--Want of clothing and shoes--The rations--Running the country mills--Condition of horses and mules--Visit to Opdycke's camp--A Christmas dinner--Veteran enlistments--Patriotic spirit--Detachment at Strawberry Plains--Concentration of corps there--Camp on a knoll-A night scene-Climate of the valley--Affair at Mossy Creek--New Year's blizzard--Pitiful condition of the troops--Patience and courage--Zero weather.

The Twenty-third Corps was encamped at Blain's Cross-roads, seventeen miles northeast of Knoxville, on the road to Rutledge, where Longstreet was supposed to be. The Fourth Corps, under General Granger, and the Ninth, under General Parke, were in the same neighborhood. The cavalry corps covered the front and flanks on both sides of Holston River. A concentration of the Army of the Ohio and its reinforcements had been made there to meet a rumored return of the Confederates toward Knoxville after an affair at Rutledge in which Longstreet had captured a wagon-train loaded with supplies for us. I left Knoxville on the morning of the 21st of December, accompanied by my staff officers, and rode to Blain's Cross-roads. I found the corps under temporary command of Brigadier-General Mahlon D. Manson, of Indiana, who had commanded one of the divisions in the preceding campaign. Manson occupied an old log house too small for himself and staff. There was but one bed in it, and at night the general occupied this, whilst his staff slept in their blankets on the floor. We had travelled leisurely, as I wished to study the country between Knoxville and the camp, and we reached the corps too late to make any arrangement for the night, and had to cast ourselves on our comrades' hospitality. I was most heartily welcomed by General Manson, who did the best he could for me by offering me the half of his own bed, whilst the staff took similar lodgings with his officers in a shed veranda at the back of the house lying snugly together, wrapped in their blankets. Manson was a burly, whole-souled man, brave and loyally unselfish, and turned over the command to me with a sincerity of subordination which won my confidence at once. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 462, 463.] It was not a comfortable night in the overcrowded log house for either hosts or guests, but it was made cheery by the hearty soldiers' welcome we received, and we sat late around the crackling fire in the stone chimney after we had eaten with a relish, known only in camp, the best supper which the meagre rations of the army could furnish.

Our first occupation next day was to establish my own headquarters, for a military man does not feel at home until his little camp is set in some decent nook with the regularity and order which shows good system, and with the sentinel pacing before the entrance. I have always found it most comfortable and most healthful to live under canvas, even in winter, in the sparsely settled parts of the country. It might be different in Europe or in the more densely peopled States at the East, but in the West and South a house cannot always be found in proper proximity to the line, and changing from house to tent and back again is much more dangerous to health than adherence to what seems the more exposed kind of life. There is also a question of discipline and morale involved, and the effect of example at headquarters is felt through the whole command. With no little difficulty we found four old tents without flies, but these were carefully pitched in a clean place accessible to all parts of the corps, and when we were installed in them we had a real satisfaction in being at home and ready for business. Our difficulty in procuring four poor tents was simply an index of the scarcity of all supplies and equipments. The depots at Cincinnati and Nashville were packed with everything we wanted, but there had been no time to get them forward when the siege began, and now the impassable mountain roads cut us off as completely as a circle of hostile camps. We especially felt the lack of the flies for the tents in roughing it. This extra roof makes as great a difference in keeping a tent habitable in wet weather, as an extra cape or a poncho does in keeping the rain off one's person, or in civil life the omnipresent umbrella. Our overcoats and ponchos kept out the wet in the longest march, but without a fly the tent roof and walls would drip with moisture. In Captain Day, however, I had a quartermaster whose indomitable energy would not be long baffled, and in his journeys to and fro in charge of the supply trains of the corps he kept a sharp eye out for whatever would make our headquarters outfit more efficient. The warehouses at Knoxville were searched, and a better tent found in one place and a fly in another gradually brought our little camp into what soldiers regard as a home-like condition. The clerical work and the official correspondence of the command could then go on; for the headquarters of an army corps in the field is as busy a place as a bank or counting-house in a city. It is the business centre for a military population of 12,000 or 15,000 men, where local government is carried on, and where their feeding, clothing, arming, and equipping are organized and directed, to say nothing of the military conduct in regard to the enemy, or of the administration of affairs relating to the neighboring inhabitants.

The troops were in bivouac, generally in the woods about us, where shelter could be made in ways well known to lumbermen and hunters. The most common form was a lean-to, made by setting a couple of crotched posts in the ground with a long pole for a ridge. Against this were laid other poles and branches of trees sloping to the ground on the windward side. The roof was roughly thatched with evergreen branches laid so that rain would be shed outward. A bed of small evergreen twigs within made a comfortable couch, and unlimited firewood from the forest made a camp fire in front that kept everybody toasting warm in ordinary weather. The regimental and company officers had similar quarters, improved sometimes by a roof of canvas or tarpaulin beneath the evergreen thatch. There were but few days in the East Tennessee winters when such shelter was not a sufficient protection for men young and accustomed to hardship. It was in fact more comfortable than life in tents at division and corps headquarters, but with us tents were a necessity on account of the clerical business which I have mentioned.

The want most felt was that of clothing and shoes. The supply of these had run very low by the time Burnside had marched through Kentucky and Tennessee to Knoxville, and almost none had been received since. Many of the soldiers were literally in rags, and none were prepared for winter when Longstreet interrupted all communication with the base of supplies. Their shoes were worn out, and this, even more than their raggedness, made winter marching out of the question. The barefooted men had to be left behind, and of those who started the more poorly shod would straggle, no matter how good their own will was or how carefully the officers tried to enforce discipline and keep their men together.

The food question was in a very unsatisfactory way, but had improved a good deal after the siege of Knoxville was raised. Some herds had been brought part of the way, and had been kept together, so that they were driven in as soon as the road was open. Some were captured and some were lost, but enough arrived so that the meat ration was pretty regularly issued in full weight. A large amount of pork had been salted and packed at Knoxville, and was issued as an occasional change from the ordinary ration of fresh beef. The "small rations" of coffee, sugar, salt, etc., were almost wholly wanting, and our soldiers had been so accustomed to a regular issue of these that the deprivation was a very serious matter. As to breadstuffs, none could be got from our depots and we were wholly dependent upon the country. We put all the mills within our lines under military supervision, and systematized the grinding so that the supply of meal and flour should be equitably distributed to the army and to the inhabitants. As the people were loyal, there was no wish on the part of the military authorities to take corn or other grain without payment, and the people brought in freely or sold to us on their farms all that they could spare. Still the supply was short, and was soon exhausted in the vicinity of the army, so that we had to send forage trains to great distances and with very unsatisfactory results. During the whole winter we rarely succeeded in obtaining half rations of bread, and oftentimes the fraction was so small as to be hardly worth estimating. In such a situation corn could not be taken for horse-feed, and as the long forage in our vicinity was exhausted, the animals were in pitiful condition. In many instances artillery horses dropped dead of starvation at the picket rope.

The Fourth Corps was no better off than ourselves. Granger had left the Army of the Cumberland immediately after the battle of Missionary Ridge, and although the situation at Chattanooga had been a good deal mitigated, no considerable supplies of clothing had then arrived. The distress was therefore universal in our East Tennessee army. Learning that Sheridan's division was encamped not far from us at Blain's Cross-roads, I rode over to find Colonel Emerson Opdycke of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio, who was in that division. He was a townsman of mine, and our families were intimate, and other neighbors and friends were with him. I could give them later news from home than any of them had, for until the end of the year the newspapers I brought from Cincinnati were the latest in camp. I found Opdycke's camp like our own. He was in the woods, under a lean-to shelter such as I have described, with a camp-fire of great logs in front of it. He was just opening the first letters he had got from home since the battle of Chickamauga in September, and these had been a long time on the way, for they had gone to Chattanooga and had come by casual conveyance from there. His statements fully agreed with the reports I had got from the Twenty-third Corps officers in regard to the condition of the troops. It was the same with all. They would not suffer greatly if they could remain in the forest encampments till shoes and clothing could come to us, but any active campaigning must produce intolerable suffering.

Our mess wished to celebrate Christmas by a dinner at which a few of our comrades might share the luxury of some canned vegetables and other stores we had brought from Ohio, and we sent a man with a foraging party that was going twenty miles away for hay and corn. After a diligent search he succeeded in getting a turkey and a pair of fowls, and we kept the festival in what seemed luxurious style to our friends who had been through the campaign. The spirit of officers and men was all that could be wished, for they thoroughly understood the causes of their privation, and knew that it was unavoidable. Their patriotism and their moral tone were magnificently shown in the re-enlistments which were at this time going on. The troops of the original enlistment of 1861 were now near the end of their term of three years, and it was the wise policy of the government to let the question of a new term be settled now while the winter was interrupting active operations. Regiments whose term of service would expire in the spring or summer of 1864 were offered a month's furlough at home and the title of "veterans" if they would re-enlist. The furlough was to be enjoyed before the opening of the next campaign, and the regiments were to be sent off as fast as circumstances would permit. We knew that the home visit would be a strong inducement to many, but we were astonished and awed at the noble unanimity of the popular spirit of the men. Almost to a man they were determined to "see it out," as they said. The re-enlistment was accepted by companies, but there was great pride in preserving the regimental organization as well. The closing week of the year was devoted to this business, other duty being suspended as far as circumstances would permit. When a company had "veteranized" by the re-enlistment of a majority, they announced it by parading on the company street and giving three rousing cheers. These cheers were the news of the day, and the company letter and the number of the regiment passed eagerly from mouth to mouth as the signal of a new veteran company was heard. Some companies re-enlisted without an exception. In one regiment there were only 15 men in the ten companies who did not sign the new rolls. In fact only the physically disabled with here and there a discontented man were omitted in the veteran enlistment. It was a remarkable incident in the history of the war and a speaking one. It illustrates better than anything, except the original outburst of patriotism in 1861, the character of the men who formed our rank and file. Could we only have had then an efficient system of filling up these veteran regiments by new recruits, the whole would have made an incomparable army; but, alas, we were to see them reduced to a handful while new regiments were organized, only (as it looked to us in the field) to give the "patronage" of the appointments to politicians, or to reward successful recruiting instead of soldierly ability tested in action.

Soon after General Foster was assigned to the department he reissued an order which Burnside had made earlier but had revoked, by which Brigadier-General Samuel D. Sturgis was appointed to the command of the cavalry corps. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii, p. 394.] Sturgis had commanded a division of the Ninth Corps in Maryland and Virginia, and was one of those whose dismissal Burnside had demanded for the insubordination which followed the battle of Fredericksburg. Good policy would have dictated that he should be sent to some other command; but he was ordered to report to Burnside, and had no active employment until Foster arrived. The cavalry corps had had several lively engagements with the Confederate horse, and was now concentrated near Mossy Creek, where it was supported by a brigade of infantry from the second division of the Twenty-third Corps, in command of Colonel Mott of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Ohio. [Footnote:Id., pp. 488, 489, 562.] Our information showed that Longstreet's forces were now concentrated about Morristown, and that nothing larger than scouting parties came across to the west side of the Holston. It became prudent, therefore, to transfer part of our forces from the Rutledge road over to that which runs from Knoxville along the line of the railroad to Morristown. Both the railroad and the wagon-road cross the Holston at Strawberry Plains and go up the valley on the east side of the river by way of New Market and Mossy Creek. On the 24th and 25th I was directed to send two more brigades to Strawberry Plains, [Footnote: Id., p. 490.]one of which was put over the river to cover the reconstruction of the railway bridge which was going on. This was the long trestle which had been burned by Sanders in the preceding summer, and had since been repaired and destroyed by the opposing armies alternately. On the 27th I was ordered to move the other division of the corps to Strawberry Plains, thus concentrating my command in that vicinity. Our distance from Knoxville would be about the same as at Blain's Cross-roads, but the divergence of the roads made our march some six or eight miles across the country.

It was a great hardship to the men to abandon the huts they had made with a good deal of labor, and which were the more necessary for them by reason of the destitution which I have described. Nor was it pleasant for us at headquarters, for we had got our own establishment into a condition of tolerable comfort. Some brick had been got from a ruined and abandoned house, and with them a chimney with an open fireplace had been built at the back of one of our tents, which thus made a cheerful sitting-room for our mess. It is a soldier's proverb that comfortable quarters are sure to bring marching orders, and we were only illustrating the rule. The march was made in the afternoon through rain and mud, and we reached Strawberry Plains just before nightfall in the short midwinter day. The Plains were a nearly level space in a curve of the river, though the village of the name was on some rough hills on the other bank at the end of the long trestle bridge. The level lands had been for some time occupied by the cavalry, and were so cut into mud-holes and defiled in every way as to be unfit for an infantry camp. A little on one side, however, was an isolated gently rounded hill covered with a mixed forest of oak and pine. With a little crowding this would make a clean and well-drained camp for the division I had brought with me. The brigades were placed so that they encircled the hill on the lower slopes with openings between leading to the top, on which I placed my headquarters. The little quadrangle of tents on the top, the forest-covered slopes, the busy soldiery below making new camps for themselves, made a romantic picture despite the discomforts. I cannot better show the impression made at the moment than by quoting from a letter written home the next day: "When we arrived, the rain was pouring in torrents, the dead leaves, wet and deep, soaked our boots and made it slow work to kindle a fire, and as we stood about in our overcoats heavy with water, we were not especially impressed with the romance of the scene; but when we had found a few old pine-knots to start the fire with, and the heavy smoke of the damp leaves changed to a bright flame,--when the tents were pitched, a cup of hot coffee made, and we sat about the fire watching the flashing light on the deep green of the pines and the beautiful russet of the oak leaves with the white of the tents beneath, the few square yards about us were made as lovely as a fairy scene shut in by the impenetrable gloom beyond. The old witchery of camp life now came over us, we forgot rain and cold, singing and chatting as merrily as if care were dead, till finally rolling in our blankets under our tents, we went to sleep as sweetly and soundly as children."

A day or two of bright mild weather followed, and the troops got themselves fairly well sheltered again. The cutting of trees for huts and for firewood thinned out the forest, and the elevation of the camp above the surrounding country exposed us to the wind, as we soon learned to our cost. Whilst the fair days lasted, we had a favorable example of an East Tennessee winter, as is shown by the further quotation from the home letter just cited. "I am sitting in the open air," I said, "before the camp-fire of great logs, writing upon my atlas on my knee, which is more comfortable than doing it in the chilly shade of the tent. I wish you could have seen our camp last night. We were grouped around the fire, some sitting and lolling on the logs drawn up for fuel, some in camp chairs. The smoke from the camps about us made the whole air hazy. Over the tents through a vista of pine-trees the moon was rising red through the thickened air, while overhead the stars were shining. The wonderful perspective the firelight makes in the forest, here brought out and deepened the mass of color of the evergreens, there made the bare trunk and limbs of a leafless oak stand like a chalk drawing against the black background, and again it gave rich velvety warmth to the brown of the dead leaves which hung thick on some trees, while the gloom beyond and the snug enclosure of our little quadrangle of tents shut us in with a sense of shelter, and completed a picture that would have made Rembrandt die of envy." We were hardened by our continuous exposure so that we felt no discomfort in sitting thus in the open air till late in the evening, though we woke in the morning to find the dead leaves which made our carpet stiff and crisp with the frost. Still, it was much milder than the Christmas weather of northern Ohio, or we could not have taken it so easily.

On the 29th the cavalry had a lively affair with the enemy at Mossy Creek, some twenty miles above us. General Sturgis was making a reconnoissance of the country between the French Broad and the Holston rivers, sending the cavalry partly toward Dandridge on the former stream, under command of Colonel Foster, and partly toward Morristown, under Brigadier-General W. L. Elliott of the Cumberland army. Elliott was supported by Mott's brigade of infantry, part of which acted under his orders. Foster found no enemy, but Elliott had advanced about three miles beyond Mossy Creek when he encountered the cavalry corps of the Confederates, advancing, apparently, with a purpose similar to ours. The infantry were posted by Sturgis upon a ridge half a mile beyond the railway bridge at Mossy Creek, and the cavalry with the artillery were ordered to retire slowly to the same position. The enemy under Major-General William T. Martin consisted of two divisions of horsemen and two batteries of artillery. They closely followed our retiring troops, who made cool resistance and drew back slowly and in order. When the position of the infantry was reached, the whole force was halted to receive the Confederate attack. Sturgis had two batteries of artillery with his corps, but had sent a section of each with Colonel Foster, and Elliott now placed the remaining sections on right and left of the road, each supported by infantry. Martin boldly attacked till he found himself confronted by Mott's infantry, which opened upon him with a withering fire. The artillery also fired canister upon the advancing enemy, and our horsemen, dismounting, extended the line and did good execution with their carbines. The first assault being repulsed, Martin was unwilling to give it up so, and bringing his artillery into better position renewed the fight. A sharp skirmishing combat was kept up for several hours, when the enemy retreated. Darkness came on soon after, and the pursuit was not pushed far. Our losses had been 17 killed and 87 wounded. That of the enemy was reported to be much more severe. The result of the engagement was to repress the enterprise of the Confederates, so that Mossy Creek remained for some time our undisturbed outpost in the valley. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 625-641.]

On New Year's eve we had a change of weather which rudely broke in upon our dream of a steady and mild winter. It had been raining nearly all day, and we had just turned in about ten o'clock in the evening when a sudden gale sprung up from the northward. The water-soaked ground did not hold the tent pins very well, and the rattling of canvas warned us to look after the fastenings. The staff were all quickly at work, the servants being, as usual, slow in answering a call in the night. The front of our mess tent blew in, and the roof and sides were bellying out and flapping like a ship's sail half clewed up. I caught the door-flaps and held them down to the pole with all my strength, shouting to the black boys to turn out before the whole should fly away. Then we had a lively time for an hour, going from tent to tent to drive the pins tighter and make things secure. We had just got them snug, as we thought, and began to listen to the roaring of the wind with something like defiance, when a "stick-and-clay" chimney, which Colonel Sterling and my brother had at the back of their tent, took fire and was near setting the whole encampment in a blaze. This made another shout and rush, till the chimney was torn away from the canvas and the fire extinguished. The gale was so fierce that the sparks from the camp-fires rolled along the ground instead of rising, and we should have burned up had not the rain kept the tents soaking wet. It grew cold so fast that by the time we had made the encampment safe, the wet canvas froze stiff. It must be confessed that we did not sleep well that night, and we got up in the morning aching with cold. It still blew a gale, though the sky was clear and the thermometer had fallen to zero. It was a typical cyclone coming as a cold wave from the North, and, as we afterward learned, was exceptional in its suddenness and bitterness along the whole line from Minnesota to northern Georgia.

The soldiers in the camps had slept but little, for they were obliged to keep awake and near the fires to escape freezing. No one who has not lived in tents or in bivouac in such a time can understand what real suffering from cold is. Exposure by day is easy to bear compared with the chill by night when camp-fires burn low and men lie shivering, their teeth chattering, while extreme drowsiness makes exertion painful and there is danger of going off into the sleep that knows no waking. On New Year's day morning the ground was frozen solid. All huddled about the fires, but the gale was so fierce that on the windward side there seemed to be no radiation of heat, so completely was the fire blown away from that side of the logs. On the leeward side the smoke suffocated and the sparks burned one, and men passed from one side to the other doubting which was the more tolerable.

I spent a good part of the morning going through the regimental camps and giving such encouragement and cheer as I could. The patience and courage of the troops were marvellous, though many of the men were in a pitiable condition as to clothing. They were tatterdemalions in appearance, but heroes at heart. Some had nothing but drawers upon their legs, their trousers being utterly worn to rags. Some had no coats and drew their tattered blankets about them, sitting upon their haunches, like Indians, about the camp-fires. I do not recall a single querulous or ill-natured complaint. It was heart-breaking work to see their misery, but they were so intelligent that they knew as well as I did that it had grown out of the inevitable fortunes of war, in spite of the utmost efforts of their commanders to get supplies forward as soon as the siege of Knoxville had been raised. I estimated that fully one-third of the command had lost and worn out some material portion of their clothing, so as to be suffering for lack of it. A little thing which added greatly to the discomfort of the men was that in some whole brigades they had been without soap for two months. This made cleanliness impossible, and clustering about the fires as they were forced to do, they became so begrimed that a liberal supply of soap would have been necessary to restore their color and show to what race they belonged. Yet, hungry, cold, ragged, and dirty, they responded cheerily to my New-Year's greetings, and at this very time the "veteranizing" was going on without a check until nearly every one of the old regiments re-enlisted for another term.

At our headquarters on the hill-top we realized that our picturesque situation had its disadvantages, for we were doubly exposed to the force of the wind. We were on a high dome, as it were, with nothing whatever to make a lee or break the power of the icy gale. In one or two of the tents, furnaces or stoves of stone had been made, on the pattern of those we had used in West Virginia in 1861. The trench in the ground with flat stone covering level with the tent floor and connected with an opening on the outside, proved the most successful device. We collected in these, and used every manner of pastime to kill the tedious hours till the subsidence of the wind made our usual outdoor life and activity possible again. Our efforts at meals were a woeful sort of failure. Cooking under such difficulties was more a name than a fact, and we left the mess tent shivering and hardly less hungry than we entered it. But all things have an end, however tedious they seem in passing, and the 2d of January seemed pleasant in the comparison, for the "blizzard" was over, and the weather was calm though cold.



CHAPTER XXXII

GRANT'S VISIT--THE DANDRIDGE AFFAIR

Grant at Knoxville--Comes to Strawberry Plains--A gathering at Parke's quarters--Grant's quiet manner--No conversational discussion--Contrast with Sherman--Talk of cadet days--Grant's riding-school story--No council of war--Qualities of his dispatches--Returns by Cumberland Gap--Longstreet's situation--Destitution of both armies--Railroad repairs and improved service--Light-draught steamboats--Bridges--Cattle herds on the way--Results of Grant's inspection tour--Foster's movement to Dandridge on the French Broad--Sheridan--His qualities--August Willich--Hazen--His disagreement with Sheridan--Its causes and consequences--Combat at Dandridge--A mutual surprise--Sheridan's bridge--An amusing blunder--A consultation in Dandridge--Sturgis's toddy--Retreat to Strawberry Plains--A hard night march--A rough day--An uncomfortable bivouac--Concentration toward Knoxville--Rumors of reinforcement of Longstreet--Expectation of another siege--The rumors untrue.

In the midst of the severest suffering of the army from cold and want, General Grant came in person to inspect the condition of affairs in East Tennessee. He reached Knoxville on the 30th of December, and after spending two or three days with General Foster, came up to Strawberry Plains. The first intensity of the cold wave had passed by, but it was still "zero weather" when he came: indeed he had waited in Knoxville for a little moderating of the temperature, but finding that it continued very cold, his desire to complete the inspection hurried him on. The corps and division commanders accompanied him in a ride through the camps that he might see the destitution of the army, and the necessity for sparing the troops all unnecessary exposure. The great trestle bridge across the Holston was examined, and the features of the topography which made Strawberry Plains an important point in military operations covering Knoxville and the line of communication with Cumberland Gap.

At the end of the ride we gathered in General Parke's quarters for what I supposed would be a discussion of the situation and a comparison of views as to our future work. It was my first meeting with Grant, and I was full of interest in observing him. On the ride he had been quietly attentive, making no show of curiosity, asking few questions, carrying himself in an unpretentious business-like way. In the social meeting at General Parke's I was disappointed that the conversation did not take the direction of a military discussion. Grant did not seem to desire further information, but was satisfied with what he had seen. He took no lead in conversation, and it was evident that he almost wholly lacked facility in that way. What he said was kindly; there was nothing like surliness in his manner; but he seemed to be without the faculty of drawing other people out and putting himself in easy accord with them. No doubt his interviews with General Foster had contained all that was necessary for making up his mind as to our situation except the personal inspection he was now engaged in; but had he been Sherman, he would have gone over the phases of the matter which could properly be made the subject of general discussion, would have emphasized whatever could be made encouraging, and exhorted to patience and courage in doing the present duty. Grant did nothing of the kind. He smoked and listened, and did not accept any of the openings which others made for conversation upon the campaign.

A majority of the officers in the group were West Point men, and college life is always a resource for small-talk when other subjects fail. The experiences of the military school, the characteristics of friends and classmates there, the qualities of the officers and professors, escapades and larks at Benny Havens' were found to have perennial freshness and interest. Grant evidently enjoyed this, and began to talk more freely. One could see that he did not lack the sense of humor, and he told an anecdote simply but without failing to make its points tell. His voice lacked volume, and seemed thin and rather high-keyed. It was half-deprecatory in tone, with an air of shyness, and he had a way of glancing quickly from one to another, as if looking for signs of response to his venture into talk. As he went on, this wore off to some extent, and he laughed quietly over the reminiscences he was telling. He told very well a story of his experience in the riding-school, where the riding-master in his time was an amusing sort of tyrant. Grant's strong point was horsemanship, and the riding-master, whether seriously or as a joke, determined to "take down" the young cadet. At the exercise Grant was mounted on a powerful but vicious brute that the cadets fought shy of, and was put at leaping the bar. The bar was raised higher and higher as he came round the ring, till it passed the "record." The stubborn rider would not say enough, but the stubborn horse was disposed to shy and refuse to leap. Grant gritted his teeth and spurred at it, but just as the horse gathered for the spring, his swelling body burst the girth and rider and saddle tumbled into the ring. Half stunned, he gathered himself up from the dust only to hear the strident, cynical voice of the riding-master calling out, "Cadet Grant, six demerits for dismounting without leave!"

I believe Grant's story is the only memory I brought away from what I had imagined would be a council of war presided over by the most prominent figure in our armies, soon to command them all. As a council of war it certainly did not fill the ideal of an eager and earnest young officer; but if we supplement it by a reading of the daily and hourly dispatches in which the clear practical judgment, the unswerving faith in final success, the unbending will, the restless energy and industry, the power to master numberless details, and a consciousness of capacity to command, all plainly stand forth as traits of Grant's character, we can see that a judgment based only on the incidents of the meeting around the fireplace in the shabby house at Strawberry Plains after our ride on that bitter winter's day would be very misleading.

Grant's visit had plainly shown him that the great problem with us was the clothing and subsistence of the troops, and that our very existence depended on it. He therefore determined to ride over the mountains by way of Cumberland Gap, and form his own judgment as to the truth of the reports of the impassable condition of the roads. The weather had hardly moderated at all when he left us on the 4th of January, and this long and severe journey was proof of his forgetfulness of personal comfort in his devotion to duty. Before following him further in his investigation, it may be profitable to go back and note some of the circumstances which brought him to Knoxville.

When Longstreet raised the siege of Knoxville, he took position near Rogersville, where he would be in reach of the unbroken part of the railway connecting him with Virginia, which now became his base. His force continued unchanged, and was not materially increased or diminished until the winter was nearly over, when the cavalry which belonged to the Army of Tennessee was ordered back into Georgia. Like Foster, he was reduced to inaction for lack of clothing and supplies. Forage had become very scarce in every part of Tennessee, and it was with great difficulty that the horses were kept alive in either army. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 817, 819.] To go into cantonments, sheltering the men as well as possible, to send all extra horses to the rear and wait for the springing of the grass and the settling of the roads when winter should be over, was the dictate of common-sense, as was clearly seen by everybody on the ground. It was not pleasant to leave the loyal men of the upper counties of the valley to suffer under the Confederate occupation; but nothing short of a continuous and reliable line of supplies would enable Foster to occupy the country up to the Virginia line. There was no gate to be shut behind Longstreet if he were driven out. He could come back as soon as our troops withdrew. Marching and countermarching would destroy the nearly naked and barefoot troops without accomplishing any permanent good.

The authorities at Washington were beset by the well-grounded complaints of the loyal representatives of the upper valley, and had become blind by habit to the difficulties of supplying and moving troops among the mountains in winter. From the first week after Foster relieved Burnside, Halleck complained that Longstreet was not driven beyond the Virginia line and kept there. These complaints were repeated to Grant, and the latter promised, in dispatches of the 23d and 24th of December, to go to Knoxville in person. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 472, 479.] In the last of these he said, "If Longstreet is not driven from Tennessee, it shall not be my fault." He came, and saw that it was not Foster's fault, and that no more than Foster could he make a winter campaign with men in such a state of destitution. As I have already said, droves of beef, cattle, and hogs could be brought "on the hoof," in poor condition it is true, but fit to be eaten. Yet soldiers could not campaign on fresh beef and pork only, and bread stuffs and all vegetable food were practically not to be had; so of coffee, sugar, salt, and the small rations generally. This, however, was the least part of the trouble, for the condition of the army as to clothing and shoes was simply appalling. When many had not even rags to cover their nakedness, and none were clad as civilized men should be to face the winter's snows and rains, it was nonsense to talk of campaigning. Grant saw this at a glance when he reached our camps. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 19, 43.] We have not the whole situation when even this is told. Wagons and teams, artillery with their horses, cavalry with theirs, are as necessary as infantry; and when foraging trains could hardly collect forage enough to feed the animals seeking it, those that were left at the picket rope had to die there. To talk, then, of hauling supplies for man and beast in a marching column was preposterous.

It was quite proper to ask whether the impracticability of bringing wagon trains over the mountains was as complete as we reported, and Grant's horseback journey back into Kentucky when the thermometer was at zero is sufficient proof that he found it imperatively necessary to settle that question also with his own eyes and without delay. We shall see presently what he reported. He knew before he left Chattanooga that the railroad from Nashville was hardly supplying Thomas's army. To Foster's appeals for at least some clothing and shoes by that route, General Meigs, who was there, replied that it could only be done "at the cost of starvation to our animals or short rations to our men" in the Army of the Cumberland. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 476.] He said that the railroad must be "not only repaired, but rebuilt," before it could do more than supply the troops already dependent on it. General McCallum, the superintendent of military railroads, had gone west, and was inspecting the Nashville and Chattanooga Road, and carefully studying the problem of its possible capacity. [Footnote:Id., pp. 422, 444.] In consequence of this a change was made in the local superintendence, and Mr. Adna Anderson was put in charge of operating the line, while Mr. W. W. Wright was made constructing engineer. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 371, 372.] Under their energy and ability it was repaired and operated so that East Tennessee as well as Sherman's army in Georgia were abundantly supplied during the Atlanta campaign; but this is part of the history of the next spring and summer. To reduce the number of mouths to feed at Chattanooga, Grant sent portions of the Army of the Tennessee into northern Alabama, where they could be supplied by boats coming up the Tennessee River. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 429, 496, 502.] The same considerations influenced him in assenting to Sherman's plan of the Meridian Expedition, where the troops engaged in it could live partly at least on a country not yet ravaged by armies, whilst they would make a diversion in favor of the weakened army left with Thomas. It is safe to say that no such division of efforts would have occurred if the railroad had been ready to supply the concentrated army on an advance into Georgia. Sherman understood it to be an interlude, and expected to be back and join the main army by the time the railroad should be repaired and supplies accumulated. [Footnote: Id., p. 498.] As auxiliary to the line of supplies, the railroad from Bridgeport to Decatur was also to be repaired, so as to connect with steamboats at the latter place.

In Foster's department the same energy was directed toward improving the communication with Chattanooga. The hull of the light-draught steamboat which Colonel Byrd had found under construction at Kingston was taken as a model, and two more were put on the stocks. [Footnote: Ante, vol. i. p.523. Official Records vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 483.] Pontoon bridges were prepared for use at different points on the river. Lumber was cut to rebuild the great railway bridge at Loudon and the long trestle at Strawberry Plains. The little train of "twenty-odd cars" which Burnside had captured was carefully guarded and kept running on the only bit of railroad in East Tennessee that was now open, viz., that from Loudon through Knoxville to Strawberry Plains. Herds of cattle were threading mountain paths to avoid the deep mud of the wagon roads from Kentucky, and on those roads desperate but too often fruitless efforts were making to push forward some wagon-loads of shoes and clothing.

In the consultations at Knoxville Foster had plainly stated his own conviction that the only wise course was to abandon the thought of aggressive warfare until spring; to station the troops so as to cover Knoxville, but to select their positions chiefly with reference to collecting forage and breadstuffs; to send all unnecessary animals to the rear and in every way to simplify to the utmost the problem of carrying the army through the winter, preserving it for active use when the change of season and the improvement of the railway line should make regular supplies possible. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 281 et seq.] Grant listened and suspended his judgment till he had examined the situation for himself. An accident to General Foster had increased the complication of affairs. He was occasionally suffering from lameness resulting from an old wound in the leg, and had found on his first journey over the mountains that he was in danger of being disabled by it. Within a fortnight after he reached Knoxville, his horse fell with him in passing over some slippery rocks, and caught the wounded leg under him. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 502.] This completely disabled the general for active field service, and on the advice of his surgeon he asked to be relieved. This request was forwarded on the 26th of December, and Grant had been notified of it on the same day. It could not be acted on at once, and during the few weeks that Foster remained at the head of the department, he was obliged to remain in Knoxville, entrusting to General Parke, as senior officer, the active command of combined movements in the field.

When General Grant reached Nashville, he reported to the War Department the results of his visit to us. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 99.] He said that he found the troops so destitute of clothing and shoes that not more than two-thirds of them could march; that the difficulty of supplying them even with food was so great that it was not advisable to send reinforcements; consequently that the policy advised by Foster must be followed and active operations suspended. Of his own journey he said, "From the personal inspection made, I am satisfied that no portion of our supplies can be hauled by teams from Camp Nelson [Ky.]." He proposed, on the first rise of the Cumberland River, to send supplies by steamboat up the Cumberland to the mouth of the Big South Fork, in the hope that as this was a new route some forage for the teams could be got along it, and that wagoning would be possible by that line into East Tennessee. It did not turn out to be so, and the only relief we got was by way of Chattanooga, where light-draught steamboats added something to the facilities for supply. As his own most pressing needs were relieved, General Thomas sent the steamboat "Lookout" with a small cargo of shoes and clothing to Loudon. There our little railway train met the boat and brought the goods to Knoxville, so that in my own command we began to receive a little about the 10th of January. It was very little, but it was greatly encouraging as a foretaste of better things to come.

On the 12th General Foster was obliged to telegraph Grant that things had grown worse rather than better since his visit. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 71, 72.] Many animals were dying daily. The weather was still intensely cold, and floating ice combined with high water, in the Holston had twice broken the pontoon bridge at Knoxville. Food for man and beast was all eaten out on the north side of the Holston River, and he proposed to move most of the troops to the south and east of the French Broad, in the hope of finding a region in which some corn and forage might still remain. The great trestle bridge at Strawberry Plains was completed, and a strong post would be left there to protect it. A regiment was at work upon the bridge at Loudon. To diminish the number of mouths to be fed, Foster gave the "veteran furlough" at this time to several more of the regiments which had re-enlisted. Trustworthy evidence showed that Longstreet was quite as badly off as we were, and that he was not likely to move unless, like us, he was forced to do so to find forage. Cavalry parties had reported to us that there were considerable quantities of corn in the neighborhood of Sevierville, and this was the inducement to send most of our troops to that side of the French Broad River. To avoid any appearance of retreat, it was ordered that we march from Strawberry Plains to Dandridge, which was a flank movement to our right, one day's march. There we should extemporize some sort of ferry to cross the French Broad and seek camps in regions which promised some supplies, but within supporting distance of our several detachments. The men whose clothing was most lacking and who were without shoes would remain in our present camp and be temporarily attached to the post established to protect the bridge. The cavalry, which had been near Mossy Creek (fourteen miles up the Holston), was directed to move straight across the angle between the two rivers, and cover the flank march of the infantry to Dandridge. It was thought probable that the cavalry might subsist for a short time in the neighborhood of Dandridge and in the valley of the Nolachucky, the principal tributary of the French Broad from the north; indeed, the time of crossing the larger river by the infantry was not fixed, but would be determined by our good or bad fortune in finding forage and bread-stuffs near Dandridge. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 82, 87, 99, 101.]

The 15th of January was the day fixed for the march. The weather was not so cold as it had been, but was very raw and uncomfortable. At the last moment General Foster found it necessary to have a consultation with Parke and Granger; and Sheridan, whose division of the Fourth Corps led off on the road, was directed to select positions for the infantry of that corps and mine as we reached Dandridge. He was also authorized to assign mills to the use of the different commands so as to systematize our means of supply and prevent disorder. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 102.] The march was nineteen miles to Dandridge, and our positions were about a mile in front of the village, on the hills covering it. Both the Fourth and the Ninth Corps had remained in their camps at Blain's Crossroads up to this time, and the Ninth now took my place at Strawberry Plains, covering Knoxville from that direction. It had less than 4000 men present for duty. [Footnote: Id., p. 292.] Our moving column consisted of Sheridan's and Wood's divisions of the Fourth Corps and parts of three brigades from the Twenty-third; less than 10,000 men in all. The ground was frozen, and as we were moving over roads which had not been much travelled, the way was comparatively smooth for our artillery and wagons. It was not so much so for the infantry, and the little unevenness being sharpened by frost, quickly cut through the men's old shoes. Those who were barefoot were ordered to stay behind, but the shoes of others were in so bad a state that there were places where I saw the road marked with bloody tracks from the wounded feet of the soldiers.

Reaching Dandridge a little in advance of my command, I reported to Sheridan, and he showed me the line he had selected, on which we were to occupy the left. Colonel Sterling, my inspector-general, was assigned the duty of placing the brigades in position as they arrived. The cavalry had preceded us, and we found them occupying the town and picketing the roads toward Morristown and the elbow of the Nolachucky River northeast of us, locally called the Bend o' Chucky. A range of hills known as Bay's Mountain was the water-shed between the valleys of the Holston and the French Broad, and we expected the cavalry to cover the front on a line from Kimbrough's Cross-roads near the mountain to the Bend o' Chucky. This line would be nine or ten miles from Dandridge, and would communicate also with Mott's brigade of my command, which had been left in its post at Mossy Creek, on the Holston, under orders to fall back deliberately to Strawberry Plains if attacked by superior forces. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 99.] If these positions could be held, the cavalry could not only collect the forage in the Nolachucky valley as far up as their detachments could reach, but would also threaten the left flank of Longstreet's position at Morristown.

Those who only knew Sheridan after the war would hardly recognize him in the thin and wiry little man I met at Dandridge. His hollow cheeks made his cheekbones noticeably prominent, and his features had a decided Milesian cast. His reputation at that time was that of an impetuous and vehement fighter when engaged, rousing himself to a belligerent wrath and fury that made his spirit contagious and stimulated his troops to a like vigor. At other times he was unpretentious and genial, and whilst regarded as a good division commander was not thought of as specially fitted for large and independent responsibilities. He was not considered cool enough for the broader duties of a commander, and indeed had had rather bad luck in the great battles of Stone's River and Chickamauga, where the qualities called for were those which enable a perfectly self-possessed officer to extricate his command from a perilous position. He has told me himself that he was slow in learning to have confidence in his own power to direct in such cases, and that it was only after he had tested himself, step by step, that he came to rely on his own judgment and will, as he did in the Shenandoah valley and at Five Forks. It was his blazing impetuosity in action that made Grant think of him as specially fitted for a cavalry leader, and his growth into the able commander of an army was a later development of his talents. He received me very cordially, and in our trying wintry experience at Dandridge began a friendly acquaintance which continued unbroken till his death.

General Thomas J. Wood was not with his division, and it was under the command of General August Willich, whom I had seen drilling Robert McCook's German regiment, the Ninth Ohio, as its adjutant, at Camp Dennison in the spring of 1861. I had expected to find Brigadier-General William B. Hazen in temporary command during Wood's leave of absence, but when I went to his quarters was surprised to find him in arrest. Hazen had been one of the first of the officers of the regular army with whom I became acquainted at the beginning of the war, and he had offered to accept a staff position with me. I had a real regard for him, and naturally offered my friendly services in his present predicament. It seemed that Sheridan had called on him for a report as to the condition of things in his front, and Hazen had taken advantage of some peculiarity of the situation which he thought Sheridan did not sufficiently understand, to make a report which was ironical and so irritating that Sheridan's answer was to order him to keep his quarters in arrest. Their quarrel, however, dated from the battle of Missionary Ridge, where Sheridan accused Wood's division, and Hazen in particular, with usurping the honors of being first on the crest and capturing part of Bragg's artillery. Sheridan honestly thought his division entitled to the honor, but the official evidence seems to me to be against him. At any rate, it began a very pretty quarrel which never was wholly made up, and which had many queer little episodes, in war and in peace, on the Indian frontier and at Washington, for many years thereafter. Hazen was an officer of real ability, of brilliant courage and splendid personal presence. His fault was that he was too keen in seeing flaws in other people's performance of duty, and apt to dilate upon them in his official reports when such officers were wholly independent of him. This made him a good many enemies notwithstanding his noble qualities and his genial kindliness to his friends. A military officer usually finds it hard enough to submit gracefully to the criticisms of his superiors, and naturally takes it ill if this prerogative is exercised by those of equal grade without authority. Such a practice puts into the official records matter which does not belong there, and which, however honestly stated, may be very unjust, because all the explanatory circumstances are not likely to be known to the critic. At any rate, the person criticised is not amenable to that tribunal, and this is enough in itself to cause a sense of injury. [Footnote: See Review of General Hazen's Narrative of Military Service, "The Nation," Nov. 5, 1885.] Sheridan took very kindly my mediation in Hazen's behalf, and probably had never intended more than a temporary arrest. After Granger came to the front and resumed command of the corps, I heard no more of the trouble.

We had escorted a small train in which were some wagon-loads of clothing and shoes for the cavalry, and the mounted corps remained at Dandridge during the 15th of January, issuing these supplies. The rear of our infantry column came up on the next day, so that we were assembled and in position before evening. The cavalry moved out in the afternoon of the 16th, part on the right toward the Nolachucky River, and the left toward Kimbrough's Cross-roads on the Morristown road. The right wing found the enemy's cavalry in their front about five miles from town, but the left wing found Kimbrough's occupied by Longstreet's infantry. His whole force, except Ransom's division, had advanced upon information of the movement of our cavalry on the 14th. In doing this Longstreet had turned the position of the brigade of infantry left at Mossy Creek, and Colonel Mott retired on the 16th to Strawberry Plains in accordance with his orders. Toward evening the cavalry on our right were driven back in a lively skirmish, and those on the left were recalled to give them support. The whole were united and repulsed the enemy's horsemen, taking position for the night about a mile in front of our infantry camps. On the 17th the enemy's infantry advanced, and reached the posts of our cavalry in the afternoon. Longstreet now made a vigorous attack with his troops of both arms, and gradually drove back our horsemen, who resisted him with their carbines, fighting dismounted. Sheridan supported the cavalry with some infantry and a lively skirmishing combat continued for an hour or two till darkness came on. The affair was something of a surprise to both parties. Longstreet had evidently made his movement in the hope of giving our cavalry a lesson which might check their enterprise and make them keep their distance, and was astonished to come upon our infantry at Dandridge. We were in motion to put our infantry on the south side of the French Broad, and were equally surprised to find the enemy in force on the same route.

General Parke and General Granger had ridden over from Strawberry Plains and reached Dandridge in the afternoon. Hearing of the presence of what was reported to be the whole of Longstreet's army, and not liking to accept battle with superior forces with the river at his back, Parke had caused an examination of the river to be made, and learned that just below the town was a shallow, fordable at an ordinary stage of water, and now about waist-deep for the men. In the low physical condition of our troops and their lack of clothing he very wisely thought it would not do to make them march through the river, but devised a foot-bridge by putting army wagons end to end and making a path over the boxes of the wagons. Sheridan was ordered to detach a brigade immediately to make this bridge, and it set to work at once. The plan was to march the infantry to the south side of the river and afterward remove the wagons, covering the operation by the cavalry who could then ford the stream, which though very cold and running with ice was not impracticable for horsemen.

About dusk, as the skirmishing in front ceased, Sheridan and myself, with Sturgis, the commandant of the cavalry, were called to meet Generals Parke and Granger at a house in the town to report the condition of affairs in our front and to receive orders for marching. The bridge had been completed, as was supposed, and the brigade which had made it had been ordered across, when, on reaching the land on the left bank, they found, to their amazement, that they were upon an island with an equally deep and wide channel beyond! This news had just been received when we assembled at headquarters. Sheridan was greatly mortified at the blunder, but there was then no help for it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. i. p. 79.] It was impracticable to complete the bridge before morning, and it was doubtful if wagons enough could be got together. My own command was on the extreme left of the line, partly covering the road back to Strawberry Plains, and we had not been engaged. The fighting had been in front of the centre and right. I could therefore throw no light on the question of the enemy's force. The information from other parts of the line and from prisoners left no doubt that infantry had engaged in the attack late in the afternoon and that Longstreet was present in force. There was therefore no dissent from the conclusion that it would be unwise to accept a battle with the river behind us, and orders were given to leave the position in the night and retire to Strawberry Plains. The wagons and most of the artillery were to follow the advance-guard, which was Sheridan's division, my command to march next, and Willich's (Wood's) division of the Fourth Corps to be the rear-guard. The cavalry were to march on a road a little to the right, leading to New Market, and would thus cover our flank. [Footnote: For the Dandridge expedition, see Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. i. pp. 79 et seq.]

Granger had been ailing for a day or two and had not been with the troops. He was lying on a bed in the room where we met, and the rest of us sat about the fireplace, a tallow candle being on a rude table in the middle of the floor. Sturgis came in later than the others, having had a longer ride. He was a handsome fellow, with full, round features, sharp black eyes, and curly black hair and mustache. He had been seated but a few minutes when he noticed a bottle of whiskey on the table and a glass which had been placed there as camp hospitality for any one that wanted it, but had apparently been neglected. Glancing that way, Sturgis said, "If I had a little bit of sugar, I believe I'd take a toddy." A colored boy produced a sugar-bowl and the toddy was taken. The conversation ran on a few moments, when, as if it were a wholly new suggestion, the same voice repeated, "If I had a little bit of sugar, I believe I'd take a toddy;" and again the attendant did the honors. Our orders were received and we were about ready to go to our commands, when again, with polite intonation and a most amusing unconsciousness of any repetition, came the words, "If I had a little bit of sugar, I believe I'd take a toddy." The incident was certainly a funny one in itself, but I should not have cared to repeat it had not the official records of Sturgis's defeat by Forrest in the Tishimingo affair later in the year emphasized the mischief of lax habits as to temperance. The judgment of his superiors and of those who knew him well was made severer by the knowledge of his weakness in this respect. Railway officers insist upon absolute sobriety in locomotive engineers; but if there be one employment in which such coolness of head is more absolutely essential than in another, I believe it is in commanding troops in the field. [Footnote: See Marbot's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 242, for results of Wittgenstein's reliance on an intemperate officer, Kulnieff, in the Russian campaign of 1812.] Sturgis's military downfall was a severe lesson, but he gave every evidence afterward of having learned it, and "lived cleanly" through many years of service after the Civil War was over.

The march back to Strawberry Plains began by starting the wagon train to the rear as soon as it was dark. Sheridan's division was drawn out soon afterward. My command was ordered to leave the line at eight o'clock, and Willich's to follow when the road should be clear as far as the first defensible ridge beyond the village where a rear-guard could make a successful stand. The cavalry were to maintain their position till morning and cover the movement. It was about half-past eight when my column closed up upon the wagons ahead of me, but as they had not yet climbed the first hill, we found ourselves necessarily halted in the main street of the village. General Willich had prudently placed a tent a little to the right of the road where it leaves the town, and there he made his quarters until the column should completely pass that point. He could thus keep his division in their bivouac in support of the cavalry till he knew the rest of the little army had cleared the place and could secure some rest, whilst he was still in easy communication with both the marching column and his own men. He reaped the advantage of his forethought. As my command had to assist the wagons and the artillery, no such means of bettering the situation was possible for us. I had notified Willich that I would be in person at the extreme rear of my command so that he could communicate with me most promptly and obtain my support if he were seriously attacked. The brigade in the lead was directed to give the wagons and cannon every help in getting forward, and the column was ordered to keep well closed up.

The day had been a mild one in comparison with the fortnight preceding, and rain set in early in the evening. The surface of the clayey roads soon became very slippery, then cut into deep ruts, and the moisture was just enough to give the mud the consistency of tenacious putty. The teams, half starved, were very weak, and it seemed as if they would never mount the hills before them, which were the southern end of the ridge of Bay's Mountain, separating the Holston valley from the Nolachucky. Three or four teams had to be united to drag up a single cannon or caisson, and the time as well as the distance was thus trebled or quadrupled. In some instances more than twenty horses were thus hitched to a single piece, besides having infantrymen at the wheels as thick as they could cluster, pushing and lifting. The column which was halted thus waiting for the wagon trains and artillery to climb a hill, grew weary of standing. The men would break ranks and sit down in the fence corners, where they built little camp-fires, and, rainy as it was, they fell asleep leaning against each other in these little bivouacs. Then would come word from the front to close up, and the regimental officers would give the command to fall in. The men would rouse themselves, the column would march, perhaps less than a hundred yards, when the road would be blocked again, the men would again seek the fence corners and stir up the fires that had been left by those who were now in advance. Thus in cold and wet and weariness the night wore on, till when day broke about six o'clock next morning we had put a distance of less than two miles between us and the village, and Willich's division had barely reached the first wooded ridge beyond the town.

During all the last hours of the night we were anxious lest we should be attacked by the enemy, who by crowning the hills above the road would have had us at great disadvantage. I had concerted with General Willich a plan of action if we were assailed, but the enemy took no advantage of our situation, and I have always believed that as the meeting at Dandridge was a mutual surprise, by a similar coincidence both parties were retiring at the same time. Our cavalry moved off toward New Market at daybreak, but it was not till late in the forenoon, when we had toiled on several miles further, that the Confederate cavalry approached our infantry rear-guard and accompanied its march for a time with some light skirmishing.

The weather grew colder during the day, and in the afternoon the rain changed to moist driving snow. The sleepy, weary troops toiled doggedly on; the wagons and the cannon were helped over the bad places in the way, for we were determined not to abandon any, and the enemy was not hurrying us. When night fell, on the 18th, my own command and Willich's division were still three miles from Strawberry Plains, though Sheridan's division and part of the wagon train had reached that place and crossed the Holston. We halted the men here and went into bivouac for the night. It had been a wretchedly cheerless and uncomfortable march, but the increasing cold and flying snow made the camp scarcely less inclement. The officers were, as was frequently the case, worse off than the men, for they could not carry their rations in haversacks, and the separation from the wagons in such a desolate country meant a prolonged fast. The delay caused by the rain and mud had been unexpected, and the march we had hoped to make in the night had taken more than twenty-four hours. During that time myself and staff had not eaten a mouthful, and we had no expectation of seeing food till we should get across the Holston next day and reach our headquarters wagons. Better luck happened us, however. We found a deserted and unfinished log cabin which had a roof and a stick-and-clay chimney, though it had no floor or chinking. The snow drove through between the logs, but the roof was over our heads and we soon had a lively fire roaring in the chimney. Some bundles of corn-stalks were found in a field near by, and of these we made a bed on the ground in front of the fire, and began to think we might forget our hunger in thankfulness for fire and shelter such as it was. But still better was in store for us. One of our tired forage trains had gone into park near us, and the teamsters offered to share their supper with us. They had corn "pone," some salt pork, and for a rarity some newly arrived coffee. We sat on the corn-stalks around the fire with an iron camp-kettle in the midst containing the black coffee which we dipped out with battered tin cups, and we held in our hands pieces of the corn-pone and slices of fried pork, congratulating each other on the unexpected luxury of our supper. Hunger and fatigue were so good a sauce that it seemed really a luxury, and we banished care with an ease which now seems hardly credible. The supper ended, sleep was not long a-wooing, though my rest was more broken than that of the others, for frequent dispatches came from headquarters which I had to answer, and orders had to be sent to the troops to continue the march on the morrow in accordance with the directions which I had received. I had provided myself in Cincinnati with a field dispatch book in form of a manifold letter-writer which I myself carried in a sabretasch during all the rest of the war. In this, by means of the carbon sheets and agate-pointed stylus, a dispatch and its copy were written at once, and a valuable record kept of every day's business. I could sit by the bivouac fire and write upon my knee without troubling a weary aide-de-camp to make a copy. I had in my saddle portmanteau also a little pair of brass candlesticks screwing together in form of a large watch-case, so that I could be provided with a light at the root of a tree in the darkness, if it was necessary to send or receive dispatches where there was neither shelter nor fire. These were necessaries; for food we could take our chances.

We halted the troops in wooded slopes where they were sheltered from the storm and where the evergreen boughs were speedily converted into tents of a sort, as well as soft and fragrant beds. Their ration was still scant, but nearly all of them picked up some addition to it on a day's march, so that the camps were more cheerful than they had been in the intensely severe weather of the first half of the month. On the next day we continued the movement, passing through Strawberry Plains and three miles further on the road to Knoxville. The Fourth Corps troops were ordered to go to the last-named city, there to cross the Holston and move out toward Sevierville into the country we had expected to reach by way of Dandridge. The Ninth Corps remained a little longer at Strawberry Plains.

On the 18th of January General Foster's plans were unsettled by a dispatch received from General Grant, dated at Nashville on the 16th, but in some manner delayed in transmittal. This conveyed the rather startling information that Longstreet had been reinforced by a division of Ewell's Corps with expectation of another also, and that the Confederate commander was in fact moving in force on Knoxville. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 109, 127.] The source of the information is not disclosed, but the news was stated with a positiveness uncommon with Grant. It reached Foster just as he had Parke's report of our having most unexpectedly met Longstreet's infantry at Dandridge and of our retreat on Strawberry Plains. The news was without foundation, for Longstreet had not been reinforced and his movement had no other significance than that which I have given it; but, coming on the heels of the accidental collision at Dandridge, there was a curious coincidence in the events which gave strong apparent confirmation to the report, and it was a matter of course that Foster should accept it as true and act upon it.

He directed the sick and all extra baggage to be sent at once to Knoxville. Part of the Fourth Corps troops were ordered to the same place. The cavalry, except two regiments left with General Parke for picket duty, was ordered to pass through Knoxville toward Sevierville to obstruct any further movement of the enemy on the Dandridge line. Parke was ordered to hold the rest of the army together, resisting Longstreet's advance, and retiring deliberately on Knoxville. Preparations were made to destroy the long trestle bridge at Strawberry Plains, and this important structure was devoted to ruin for the third or fourth time since Sanders entered the valley in the preceding summer. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 129, 162.] Grant had said to Foster that the impossibility of supplying more troops in East Tennessee made it useless to send reinforcements, and that he must keep between Longstreet and Thomas, retiring toward Chattanooga if necessary. Halleck complicated the situation by telegraphing direct to Thomas that he must aid Foster to any extent needed, and that the line from Knoxville to Cumberland Gap must be maintained at all hazards. [Footnote: Id., p. 130.] Foster reported to Grant that he had so greatly improved the defences and armament of Knoxville that it could not be taken, and that he would not retire further than this place unless it were explicitly ordered. [Footnote: Id., p. 138.] This was in accordance with General Grant's wish, and his confidence in the information as to Longstreet's reinforcement was such that he telegraphed Halleck on the 20th that the siege of Knoxville was about to be renewed. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 149.] The chronic inability of Halleck to understand East Tennessee affairs is shown in his insistence on still maintaining the Cumberland Gap line, which was necessarily uncovered whenever the enemy approached Strawberry Plains. Chattanooga had now become our base, and remained so for all troops in East Tennessee till the end of the war. We at the front got the first authentic information which disproved the report of Longstreet's reinforcement and showed that he had retired to Morristown. Foster was thus enabled to telegraph Grant on the 20th that the evidence did not sustain the report, and that he doubted whether the Confederate commander would again attempt Knoxville. [Footnote: Id., p. 151.]



CHAPTER XXXIII

WINTER QUARTERS IN EAST TENNESSEE--PREPARATIONS FOR A NEW CAMPAIGN

Sending our animals to Kentucky--Consultations--Affair with enemy's cavalry--Roughing it--Distribution of troops--Cavalry engagement at Sevierville--Quarters in Knoxville--Leading Loyalists--Social and domestic conditions--Discussion of the spring campaign--Of Foster's successor--Organization of Grant's armies--Embarrassments in assignment of officers to duty--Discussion of the system--Cipher telegraphing--Control of the key--Grant's collision with Stanton--Absurdity of the War Department's method--General Stoneman assigned to Twenty-third Corps--His career and character--General Schofield succeeds to the command of the Department of the Ohio.

In connection with the movements of concentration about Knoxville, General Foster carried out his scheme of sending back to pasture in Kentucky and Tennessee all the horses and mules, except a very few teams needed to distribute supplies and two or three horses at each division headquarters for the commanding officer and an aide or two. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 203-204.] The animals were herded and driven together, an escort of cavalry accompanying them, and the whole put in charge of Captain Day of my staff, as quartermaster, the same whose energy in our journey over the mountains I have already noted. This measure definitely committed us, of course, to a quiet and defensive line of conduct for the next three months. On the 21st of January we were deliberately closing in around Knoxville, where the Fourth Corps was already concentrated, and General Foster had called upon the three corps commanders to meet him at his headquarters in the city for the purpose of putting in official form our opinion upon the necessity of suspending active operations in view of the condition of the troops and animals. We met there on the next day, and submitted our reports in response to interrogatories on several points. My own statement summarized the facts in regard to the supplies of food, forage, clothing, and the impossibility of drawing anything more from the country except some very limited quantities of bread-stuffs. My conclusion was that economy of life, animals, property, and (taking the next six months together) of time also, required that the troops should go into permanent quarters for a short period to be devoted to recuperation, drill, and instruction, organization of means of supply, and general preparation for an active campaign in the spring. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 176.] I, however, added that this was on the hypothesis that no imperative military reasons existed for continued active campaigning; for in presence of such a necessity every officer and man of the corps would most cheerfully continue to undergo every hardship and endure every privation. There was complete unanimity among us in regard to the subject, and General Foster's orders were issued accordingly.

Whilst we were in conference, reports came in from General Willcox, who had been left in command of the Ninth Corps at Strawberry Plains, that the enemy were pressing him rather vigorously. Word came also from General Spears that hostile infantry and cavalry had appeared in large force at Blain's Cross-roads. Sturgis also reported from the direction of Sevierville that the whole rebel army had gone to Strawberry Plains. [Footnote: Id., pp. 163, 174.] Toward evening of the 22d our troops had come within some five or six miles of Knoxville, but the enemy showed so strong a disposition to attack that Foster ordered me to return to the front, take command of both corps (Ninth and Twenty-third) and of the cavalry with them, and check the Confederates, as there was some danger that our troops would change the concerted movement into a precipitate retreat. General Parke was suffering in health from recent exposure and remained in Knoxville. Galloping out from the town, I reached the troops a little before dark, halted them, and by a personal reconnoissance satisfied myself that only cavalry were before us. Our men had passed some wooded hills which were important to cover our position and give a starting-point for an aggressive movement on our part. Reversing their movement, I reoccupied these hills, brusquely driving back the enemy's advance-guard and checking their main body. It was now dark, and putting our forces in line of battle ready for an advance at daybreak, they were allowed to bivouac for the night, whilst I rode rapidly back to Knoxville, in accordance with my arrangement with General Foster to report to him in person the particulars of the situation. He approved my suggestion that I should advance the whole line in the morning and settle the question what force was before us. The wagons had come into the town, and my headquarters with them; so taking each of us a blanket, myself and the two staff officers who had accompanied me (Colonel Sterling and my brother) rode back again at midnight to the front, and rested till daybreak on the rough floor of a log cabin. The line then was advanced, but the enemy had taken the hint from the preparations of the evening and had decamped. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 184.] Detachments went in pursuit some eight miles, but the Confederates had definitely withdrawn, and we obtained conclusive proof that only their cavalry had followed us across the Holston River.

The interrupted movement toward Knoxville was resumed, but it required me to remain another night in roughest bivouac, and another day without food, except as a mouthful could be found at hazard. I had begun the Dandridge movement with a cold which threatened pneumonia, but had grown steadily better through all the exposure, finding, as often happened to me in the course of the war, that the physical and mental stimulus of active campaigning even in the worst of weather was tonic and health-giving.

As soon as the situation was cleared up by trustworthy information of Longstreet's movements, General Foster resumed his plans for winter quarters. His first intention of sending the Fourth Corps toward Sevierville was modified by Grant's directions to put that corps where it could most readily rejoin the Army of the Cumberland. He therefore ordered me to move the Twenty-third Corps in that direction, and formally united to the corps the brigade of East Tennessee troops under Brigadier-General James G. Spears, which had theretofore been an independent organization. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 162.] Sturgis, who had marched with most of the cavalry on the route thus assigned to me, reported that the road was the worst he ever saw, and, with all the experience of bad roads we had had, this meant that it was impracticable for our few and weak teams. [Footnote:Ibid.] This put an end to all hope of living on the country, and Foster accepted the necessity of distributing his troops about Knoxville and along the lines leading to Chattanooga.

On the 22d of January orders were issued assigning the Fourth Corps to quarters extending from Kingston to Loudon along the river and railroad. The Ninth Corps took post between Campbell's Station and Knoxville. The Twenty-third Corps encamped at Knoxville and in the immediate vicinity. [Footnote: Id., p. 183.] The cavalry occupied the country southeast of the Holston holding a front on the French Broad River. A few small outposts further up the valley were maintained for observation.

A brilliant cavalry combat near Sevierville on the 27th ended the active work under General Foster's command. Longstreet, hearing of the presence of our cavalry south of the French Broad, directed General Martin, commanding his cavalry corps, to get his forces across the river and meet Sturgis at once. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 611.] The latter had McCook's division in advance, supported by Garrard's near Pigeon River. Martin advanced upon McCook, but was surprised to find his adversary seize the initiative. Learning of the Confederate advance, McCook marched to meet them on the road leading to Fair Garden. Martin was driven back, his right (Morgan's division) being routed by a gallant charge led by Colonel La Grange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, who commanded a brigade. [Footnote: Id. pt. i. pp. 139, 141.] Two regimental commanders, seven other commissioned officers, over a hundred privates, and two pieces of artillery were captured by the charge. General Morgan's battle-flag was also among the trophies. Our own casualties amounted to only thirty-one. Martin beat a hasty retreat across the French Broad to Dandridge, and Longstreet frankly admitted Martin's defeat with a loss of 200 men and the two guns. [Footnote:Id. pp. 149-150.] He attributed it to the inefficiency of his cavalry commander, and urged that one more competent be sent him. [Footnote: Idpt. ii. p. 632.] Sturgis followed on the 28th to Fair's Island Ford near Dandridge, where he was met by Armstrong's division of the Confederates. Longstreet now passed over an infantry force in rear of our cavalry, and they fell back to Maryville. [Footnote: Id., p. 653.] Both parties found the winter work too costly, and were now glad to take a few weeks for rest and recuperation.

As my headquarters were assigned to Knoxville, I had the opportunity of increasing my knowledge of the people and of the social complications which grew out of the war. I found quarters for myself and Lieutenant Theodore Cox, my aide, at the house of Mr. Cowen, a young merchant of the city, whose father was one of the prominent business men. The house was on the north side of a suburban street running parallel to the river, and not far from the buildings of the East Tennessee University, which were partially fortified and connected with Fort Sanders by a line of infantry trench. The fields on the opposite side of the road were open, and sloped down to the river bank, and in these my headquarters guard pitched their tents and the general quarters of the staff were also placed. A near neighbor, in the direction of the college, was the Rev. Dr. Humes, rector of the Episcopal parish, and after the war President of the University. General Burnside had spoken of him as a noble man, of devoted loyalty as well as earnest piety, and I was glad to know him as one who by his high intelligence and character was an authority on all that related to Holston valley. [Footnote: Thomas W. Humes, S.T.D. He has, since the war (1888), published a volume devoted to the East Tennessee loyalists, entitled "The Loyal Mountaineers of Tennessee."] John Williams, John M. Fleming, and O. P. Temple were among those who represented the Union sentiment of Knoxville, as did Perez Dickinson among the merchants. [Footnote: Since this chapter was written, Chancellor Temple has contributed a valuable work to the history of the Rebellion, in his "East Tennessee and the Civil War," Cincinnati. 1899.] John Baxter, afterward Judge of the United States Circuit Court, was a strong and wise friend of the government. Horace Maynard represented the district in Congress both before and after the war, and was regarded at Washington as its official representative even in the period when the Confederate occupation made him an exile from his home. William G. Brownlow was in Knoxville also, having returned as soon as our army had opened the way. His son, "Colonel Jim," was doing gallant service at the head of the First East Tennessee Cavalry. Around this group of leading men were arrayed the great majority of the people, devoted in their attachment to the Union. The men of property among them had sometimes been forced to dissimulate in order to protect their persons and their possessions; but now that the National army was in the valley, there was no mistaking the earnest satisfaction and the hearty sympathy of these people. There was a minority who had been open Secessionists, and these had been influential beyond their numbers, by reason of their wealth and social standing; for here, as well as everywhere else in the South, owners of slaves easily became champions of the extreme doctrines of what they called the constitutional guaranty of their property. They claimed to include most of the "upper class" in their numbers, though this was by no means true in this region.

The feelings of both Union men and Secessionists were very bitter, and social life was as strongly marked by these divisions as the hostile camps. The number of slaves was comparatively small, but they were the house servants in the towns, and their disposition to assert their liberty added to the social turmoil. The mistress of the house where I lodged hired her cook from a neighbor who claimed the woman as a slave; but the employer found herself obliged to make another bargain with the cook, and to pay her a second wage in order to keep her at work at all. The Unionists of East Tennessee were not yet fully advanced to the emancipation of the slaves as a result of the war. Parson Brownlow had fiercely denounced the Secessionists for arguing that secession was necessary to preserve property in slaves. Our army commanders thought it prudent not to agitate this question, and contented themselves with keeping within the limits of the statutes and the general orders of the War Department, which forbade military interference to return fugitives to the masters or to compel their obedience. The matter was left to work itself out, as it rapidly did.

After the first of February the weather became settled and gave us a more favorable opinion of the East Tennessee climate. We had sharp frosts at night with occasional light flurries of snow, but the days were usually bright, it thawed about midday, and the average temperature was such as to make active exercise delightful. The summits of the Great Smoky Mountains were covered with snow, and made a picturesque framing for the natural loveliness of the valleys. The roads were nowhere metalled, and the alternate freezing and thawing made them nearly impassable; but if we had been able to bring forward proper forage and supplies, we should have overcome the other obstacles to active campaigning. As it was, we could only await the approach of spring, when the settling of the roads and the opening of railroad communication with Chattanooga and Nashville would make it possible to bring back from Kentucky and feed our horses which had been sent to the rear.

There was, beside, the question of the change necessary in the command of the department, since there was no probability that General Foster's health would permit him to retain it and he had urgently requested that his successor should be assigned to duty. Indeed, the question of organization reached down to the regiments and brigades, and was a burning one in all the armies of Grant's Military Division. Besides this, the revival of the grade of Lieutenant-General was already mooted in Congress, and it was nearly a foregone conclusion that Grant would have the command of all the armies and the task of co-ordinating their movements. Our little army in East Tennessee was agitated not only with the speculations as to our new commander, but with debates as to our probable part in the next campaign, and the forces which would be given to us with which to do our work. Would the Ninth Corps remain in the department, or would it be ordered to the East for duty under Burnside, as was already rumored? Would our task be simply to garrison East Tennessee; should we make Longstreet's army our objective and follow him into Virginia; or should we be united to Sherman's and Thomas's armies for a campaign in Georgia? We eagerly listened for every hint which might be dropped at headquarters, but Grant's proverbial reticence left us to our conjectures, and each question was answered only when official orders were finally published. Much that was very blind to us is now easily traced in the Official Records.

When General Foster informed the War Department that the opening of his old wound made it necessary to relieve him of command in East Tennessee, the President was in some perplexity in regard to several prominent officers. He was disposed to find some adequate employment for Rosecrans, who was still backed by a very strong political coterie in Washington. He was convinced that injustice had been done Burnside, and was thinking of sending him with the Ninth Corps, largely increased in numbers, to his old field of successful work on the Carolina coast. The opposition of influential politicians of Kansas and Missouri to Schofield, whose confirmation as major-general was still obstructed in the Senate, he felt as a personal hostility to himself. Grant was also desirous of suitable assignments to command for McPherson, W. F. Smith, and Sheridan. The almost certain passage of the bill to give a higher grade in the army, and the assumption that Grant would be promoted to it, gave the opportunity to make a satisfactory arrangement of all these cases. Burnside's return to active work and the removal to the East of the Ninth Corps were determined on, with General Parke's return, at his own desire, to the position of Burnside's chief of staff. McPherson was to take the Army of the Tennessee when Sherman should be promoted to the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi. Smith and Sheridan were to have high assignments in the Eastern army. Rosecrans was sent to Missouri, and Schofield, to his great content, was appointed to command the Army of the Ohio. These changes were gradually shaped in the correspondence of Grant with army headquarters during the fall and winter. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 122, 277, 458, 529, 571; vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 79, 80, 182, 202, 209, 229, 230, 251, 336; also a curious letter of Hooker to Stranton, id., pp. 467-469. See also Schofield's "Forty-six Years in the Army," pp. 108-110. I have treated these changes more in detail in chapter vii. of Force's "General Sherman" (Great Commanders' series). See preface of the work last named.] They were followed by others in the corps divisions and brigades, so that the organization of all the Western armies took permanent form before Grant was called to Washington to assume his new rank at the beginning of March.

In regard to general officers the question of assignments and promotions was always an embarrassing one for commanders of armies in the field. As the law prescribed the maximum number of major-generals and of brigadiers, political and military pressure combined to keep the list always full. [Footnote: In reply to Grant's request for the promotion of General W.F. Smith, Halleck Informed him, on Jan. 13, 1864, that there was not only no vacancy, but that by some error more had again been appointed that the law authorized, and some already in service would have to be dropped. Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 80. As to brigaders, see Halleck to Grant, Id., p. 481.] Closest watch was kept by politicians and others at Washington, and if a vacancy occurred, the pressure to fill it was exactly such as would be made for a civil office in the gift of the government. Officers of the regular army found in General Halleck a powerful support, and it was assumed that those appointed from civil life would be looked after by their political friends. The effort which was made by the War Department in the winter to force into active service or into retirement all officers who for any cause had been "shelved" was well intended, but in practice it accentuated the feeling of experienced commanders that a radical reform was essential. An intelligent system was demanded, reaching from top to bottom of the army, separating its discipline, its assignments to duty, its promotions and its removals from political influences, and making merit alone the basis of advancement. In the condition of public affairs no such thorough work was possible. The embarrassments of army commanders had been very bluntly explained to the War Department in the confidential dispatches of Mr. Dana from Chattanooga. His judgments may sometimes have been hasty, but he gives a very vivid picture of the mischiefs which follow from having incompetent, intemperate, or inefficient men saddled upon an army. The same dispatches, however, showed also how unwillingly the commanders resorted to extreme severity with men toward whom they had feelings of personal kindness. In strong hands like Grant's or Sherman's the power to get promptly rid of such incumbrances (which Dana recommended) would be ably used and work well. As to political considerations, the President on more than one occasion admitted that he felt obliged, at times, to let these control his action, instead of reasons based on the efficiency of the army. [Footnote: For Dana's dispatches on this subject, see Official Records, vol. xxx. pt. i. p. 220; vol. xxxi. pt. i. pp. 69, 73, 265; pt. ii. pp. 54, 63. In his published "Recollections of the Civil War" (1898), Mr. Dana has omitted some of his most trenchant personal criticisms.]

Along with the graver embarrassments which General Grant found in organizing his armies for a new campaign were smaller ones, which though sometimes concerned with trivial matters were not on that account likely to be less annoying. When the general visited us at Knoxville and Strawberry Plains in the severe weather of early January, he came practically unattended. He had with him Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Comstock of the engineers, who continued in confidential staff relations to him to the end of the war, well known then and ever since as an officer of rare ability and discretion. At Knoxville Grant received a dispatch in cipher which he could not read because the telegraph operator at his headquarters at Nashville alone had the key. This gave him great annoyance and might have had very serious consequences. When therefore he reached Nashville on his return ride over the mountains, he directed the operator to reveal the key to Colonel Comstock, who was always with him. The operator of course reported the fact to the superintendent of military telegraphs at Washington (Colonel Anson Stager), and on the report of the latter to the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton ordered the operator summarily dismissed from his employment, and formally reprimanded Colonel Comstock as if the revelation had been merely on his personal order. Of course Grant, who had never dreamed that he was treading upon anybody's toes, immediately assumed the full responsibility. He showed the folly of making details of method override the public necessity to which they were subservient, and asked that the operator should be restored to his employment and not made to suffer for obeying his personal order. He said: "I could see no reason why I was not as capable of selecting a proper person to intrust with this secret as Colonel Stager." One would think this ought to have ended the matter, but it did not, though the operator was restored to duty. Mr. Stanton had the old cipher thrown away, issued a new one, and stuck to the plan of trusting it to an ordinary civilian operator, whilst it was not allowed to be known to the commanding general or the most responsible staff officer. Grant made the sensible suggestion that the key be given to military officers only, and be kept from the civilian operators; but Mr. Stanton adhered to the farcical notion of carrying on a cipher correspondence which should be open to the irresponsible transmitter, but secret as to the responsible commanding general to whom it was addressed. If it were meant for a system of espionage upon the general by thus inseparably tying to him a civilian over whom he had no control, like an agent of a secret police reporting to a Fouche or a Savary, it would be an intelligible though bungling contrivance; but as a means of secret communication with a general it was ridiculous in the extreme. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 150, 159, 161, 172, 323, 324, 361.]

The telegraph operators were young men who had learned the art usually in the northern telegraph offices and were hired for military service like other civilian employees. The operator at Grant's headquarters at Nashville had a busy place, and could not be spared to accompany the general whenever he visited a distant post, even if such inseparable attendance had been agreeable to the commander. Many of the operators were faithful and intelligent men, but there were some who were not; and an incident occurred in the Nashville campaign in the next year which showed what mischiefs were likely to happen when a telegraph operator was cowardly or untrustworthy. [Footnote: See "The Battle of Franklin," by the present writer, pp. 29, 30.]

Returning to the affairs of the Army of the Ohio, at the same time that General Schofield was ordered to report to Grant for duty, Major-General George Stoneman was sent from the East with a similar order. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 166, 182.] It had not then been announced that the Ninth Corps would return to the East, and apparently assuming that the Army of the Ohio would include more than one corps of infantry, General Grant suggested the assignment of Schofield to the department and Stoneman to the Twenty-third Corps. This was ordered accordingly on the 28th of January. [Footnote:Id., pp. 229, 251.] Stoneman's last service had been as Hooker's chief of cavalry in the Chancellorsville campaign, and under Hooker's orders he had been upon a separate expedition of cavalry during that unfortunate battle. In the general miscarriage of the campaign, he was, with questionable justice, held responsible in part for the failure and was displaced. In the general plan of setting everybody to work again, he was sent to Grant, though, as time had brought about a more favorable judgment regarding him, it would have been fair to assign him to duty again with the Army of the Potomac. I think he expected the command of the cavalry of the western army, but Grant had selected Brigadier-General William Sooy Smith for that position, and looking about for suitable duty for Stoneman, the Twenty-third Corps was seen to have no permanent commander assigned by the President, and Stoneman was nominated for it. As events turned out, the appointment was for a very short period.

My command of the corps with the rank of brigadier was of course anomalous, and would necessarily be temporary unless the appropriate rank were restored to me. Had Burnside remained in East Tennessee, it is probable that his wish would have prevailed; but he was absent, and I was a comparative stranger, forming new relations to Grant and his principal subordinates. Foster had also assured me that he would wish no change in the corps command if he stayed at the head of the Department, but as his health caused his withdrawal, the new arrangements were made without consulting him. Under these circumstances there was nothing for me to do but to accept the inevitable and take such active work as my seniority in my present rank would give.

When General Foster learned that he would soon be relieved, he very cordially offered to do anything in his power to further my wishes in regard to any choice of duty when I should be superseded in the corps. I replied that my strong desire was to get the most active field service, and as it was doubtful whether the corps would not be kept to garrison East Tennessee, I would like to be transferred to the Army of the Cumberland, which was certain to make the next campaign in Georgia. On his suggestion I wrote a letter to General Grant asking the transfer on the grounds stated. This application General Foster forwarded with a letter of his own supporting it in very friendly manner. Nothing came of this, but it was the reason for the delay which occurred in my assignment to permanent work in the Army of the Ohio. Some of my friends in the Fourth Corps, knowing that Sheridan was to leave his division, had suggested my appointment there, but the surplus of general officers prevented. Major-General Newton, one of those who came west from the Potomac army, was assigned to that division. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. i. p.18.]

Generals Schofield and Stoneman reached Knoxville on the 9th of February, and the changes in command were promptly made. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 356, 358, 359, 364, 365.] For a fortnight I was off duty, awaiting orders. General Foster took his leave of us, thoroughly respected by all, though his crippled physical condition had interfered with his personal activity.

My separation from the corps command only affected myself and my two personal aides-de-camp. I had recommended Major Bascom, my adjutant-general, and Major Treat, my commissary, for permanent positions on the corps staff, and these recommendations were kindly adopted by General Stoneman, so that they ceased to belong to my military family, though both offered to follow my fortunes. The other staff appointments were in the nature of details, most of which were temporarily continued. Pending General Grant's action on my application, I remained at Knoxville, looking on and making the acquaintance of the officers newly arrived.

General Stoneman was a tall, thin man, full bearded, with large eyes. He had an air of habitual sadness, or gravity approaching it, and was commonly reputed to have an irritable temper, but I saw nothing of it. I think he would have made an acceptable commander of the corps if fortune had left him in that position. His place in the regular army (Major of the Fourth United States Cavalry [Footnote: He and General Sturgis were the two majors of the same regiment.]) had led to his assignment to a cavalry command at the East, and he returned to that arm of the service a little later. Grant took a dislike to Stoneman, partly on account of the manner in which he had been sent to him from the East. When the suggestion was made that, if the opposition in the Senate to Schofield's confirmation should defeat his promotion, Stoneman should succeed to his command, Grant dryly replied that he did not know General Stoneman's merits. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 394] Even a year later he showed the same distrust by speaking of him as an officer who had failed. This was by no means just, but showed the persistence of Grant's impressions. [Footnote: General Stoneman retired from the army at the close of the war and made his home in California, of which State he became governor.]

With General Schofield's arrival began my close association with him which was to last until the end of the war. In person he was a solid, rather stout man, of medium height, with a round bald head and long black beard coming down on his breast. He had a reputation for scientific tastes, and had, after his graduation at West Point, been instructor in astronomy there. He was two or three years my junior in age, and was among the younger general officers. The obstruction, thus far, to his confirmation in his higher grade so far resembled my own experience as to be a ground of sympathy between us. As I was glad of his better luck in his prompt reappointment, I may also say that his hearty recognition of my own service and experience inspired me with sincere friendship. I look back to my service as his subordinate with unmixed satisfaction.



CHAPTER XXXIV

SCHOFIELD IN EAST TENNESSEE--DUTIES AS CHIEF OF STAFF--FINAL OPERATIONS IN THE VALLEY

Fresh reports of Longstreet's advance--They are unfounded--Grant's wish to rid the valley of the enemy--Conference with Foster--Necessity for further recuperation of the army--Continuance of the quiet policy--Longstreet's view of the situation--His suggestions to his government--He makes an advance again--Various demonstrations--Schofield moves against Longstreet--My appointment as chief of staff in the field--Organization of the active column--Schofield's purposes--March to Morristown--Going the Grand Rounds--Cavalry outpost--A sleepy sentinel--Return to New Market--Once more at Morristown--Ninth Corps sent East--Grant Lieutenant-General--Sherman commands in the West--Study of plans of campaign--My assignment to Third Division, Twenty-third Corps--Importance of staff duties--Colonel Wherry and Major Campbell--General Wood--Schofield and the politicians--Post at Bull's Gap--Grapevine telegraph--Families going through the lines--Local vendetta--The Sanitary Commission--Rendezvous assigned by Sherman--Preliminary movements--Marching to Georgia--A spring camp on the Hiwassee--The Atlanta campaign begun.

On assuming command in East Tennessee, Schofield was met by directions from General Grant, full of fresh urgency that Longstreet should be driven beyond the Virginia line. The occasion for this was the receipt of new intelligence that Longstreet was reinforced from the East, and would make another effort at an aggressive campaign. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 337.] The recurrence of this stereotyped form of alarm looked very much like information sent from the Confederates themselves for the purpose of keeping us on the defensive; but perhaps it is only of a piece with other evidence which shows the slight value of all information which is not got by contact with the enemy. The truth was that none of the reports that Ewell and others had been sent to Longstreet had any foundation. He was left to his own resources, with only the authority to call his next neighbor in southwestern Virginia to his assistance if he were in danger of being overwhelmed. But Grant was annoyed by these recurrent alarms, and his aggressive nature chafed at it. "I intend to drive him out or get whipped this month," he said to Thomas before Schofield's arrival; and on the 11th of February he wrote to the latter: "I deem it of the utmost importance to drive Longstreet out immediately, so as to furlough the balance of our veterans and to prepare for a spring campaign of our own choosing, instead of permitting the enemy to dictate it for us." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 367.]

Nothing would have pleased Schofield better than to have had Longstreet come down to Knoxville and fight there, but the cogent reasons which had made Foster suspend active operations and devote every energy to getting his men and animals in condition for a vigorous spring campaign, had lost none of their force. Our animals had already been sent away to save their lives, and by the help of the little steamboats built at Kingston and for which General Meigs had sent engines from the North, we were beginning to receive at Knoxville some of the clothing for which our men were suffering.

Grant had already ordered Thomas to be prepared to march at once to reinforce Schofield, [Footnote: Id., p. 359.] when he had a personal interview at Nashville with General Foster, who was on his way home. Foster so fully explained the impossibility of supplying troops much further up the valley than Knoxville, and the absolute need of building up the physical strength of man and beast after the half starvation since winter set in, that Grant yielded to the inevitable and directed Schofield to remain on the defensive till the approach of spring should give a prospect of activity which should not be destructive to the little army. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 373-375.] He ordered that the re-enlisting veterans should have their furloughs as soon as possible, and that men and animals should have all the rest they could get, preparatory for early operations in the spring.

After his retreat from Knoxville, Longstreet had kept up an active correspondence with Mr. Davis, and with Lee, Johnston, and Beauregard, in reference to further plans of campaign. The ease with which Thomas could reinforce Schofield was so plain to him that he saw nothing attractive in another advance on Knoxville. The plan which seemed to attract him most was to mount his infantry on mules and make a dash through the mountains into Kentucky by way of Pound Gap. [Footnote: Id., pp. 652-789, 790-792.] To collect ten thousand mules and send them to him, to make a depot for rations and forage at Abingdon sufficient to support the column on its journey through the mountains, to furnish a train to carry it,--all this seemed evidently chimerical to those to whom he proposed it. [Footnote: Id., p. 760.] The Confederacy had all it could do to feed its existing armies where they were, and was living from hand to mouth.

The thing which the Confederate government seemed most to desire was that Longstreet should effect a junction with Johnston and the two open an offensive campaign against Thomas. [Footnote: Id., pp. 806, 808, 810.] The evil consequences of Bragg's blunder in detaching Longstreet before the battle of Missionary Ridge became more evident every day; but how were the commands to be reunited? A long and perilous flank march must be made by both armies, with an almost certainty that Grant would concentrate first and fall upon them in succession.

Longstreet was restless and anxious to do something pending this discussion, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 699.] and resolved to try an advance from Morristown upon Knoxville. He began his movement just as Grant had concluded to allow Schofield's army to remain quiet till spring. On the 19th of February he reached New Market, seven or eight miles above Strawberry Plains and twenty-five from Knoxville. The information he got gave him the idea that our troops were "demoralized," and that it was a favorable opportunity for an effort to capture Schofield's army. [Footnote:Id., p. 735.] He was quite wrong as to the morale of our troops, though we were depleted by furloughs and were nearly immovable for lack of train animals. He urged Johnston to move toward Knoxville to co-operate with him, [Footnote: Id., p. 744.] but Polk was now in trouble by reason of Sherman's march from Vicksburg upon Meridian and Johnston was ordered to assist Polk. [Footnote: Id., p. 763.] Then Grant, to balk both efforts, ordered Thomas to make a demonstration against Johnston, which was effective in preventing co-operation in either direction. [Footnote: Id., p. 480.]

Schofield was at first disposed to regard the enemy's advance as an effort to find forage and to strip the country more bare than it already was, if that were possible. On the 18th, however, Longstreet advanced again, and threatened to cross the Holston at Strawberry Plains, scouring the country in the angle between that river and the French Broad. The rumors which reached Schofield were [Footnote: Id., p. 415.] that his real purpose was to cross the French Broad, move along the foot of Chilhowee Mountains and make his way to Johnston. It is very probable that this was his real purpose. On the 19th he was ordered to send at any rate Martin's cavalry to rejoin Johnston, [Footnote: Id., p. 772.] and to make the junction complete would so evidently please the Confederate government that it may be assumed Longstreet would do it if he saw the way open. Schofield therefore prepared to concentrate and move in either direction, but took no active step for a few days. On the 23d the information was sufficient to make it clear that Longstreet was not moving in force toward Georgia, but was retiring toward Morristown, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 449, 455.] and Schofield immediately issued orders of march to his troops to follow. The fact was that Longstreet was so much disturbed by the withdrawal of Martin's cavalry [Footnote: Martin's cavalry at this time was what remained of Wheeler's corps which had accompanied Longstreet from Bragg's army the previous autumn.] that he declared this forced him to leave East Tennessee and place his forces at Bristol on the Virginia border. On getting a second dispatch from Mr. Davis, he modified his reasons, saying that Schofield had been reinforced from Chattanooga. [Footnote:Id., pp. 788-790.] This was incorrect, for the Fourth Corps was the only part of the Army of the Cumberland which joined the Army of the Ohio at any time during the winter, and only Wood's division of it participated in Schofield's present movement. He also wrote as if he had been near enough to Knoxville to discover for himself that the fortifications were greatly strengthened;[Footnote: Id., p. 810.] but as he had not approached nearer than seventeen miles, he could hardly have gained much information on this subject. No doubt rumors of work on the defences of the city had spread through the country during the winter, but there could hardly have been any discovery at this time. The use of it to smooth the appearance of an abortive effort was only a passage in military apologetics.

I had been awaiting orders in Knoxville a fortnight when the advance against Longstreet began, and as no definite answer had come to my application for transfer, General Schofield invited me to act as his chief of staff in the field during active operations or until my assignment to permanent duty should be settled. I gladly accepted the general's proposal and joined headquarters at once. [Footnote: See Official Records vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 495.] Our little army consisted nominally of parts of three corps, but the column in the field consisted of one division of the Twenty-third Corps, under the immediate command of General Stoneman, one of the Fourth Corps under Brigadier-General Thomas J. Wood, and the skeleton of the Ninth Corps under General Parke. [Footnote: Id. p. 455.] We had also Colonel Garrard's division of cavalry. Another division of the Twenty-third Corps under Brigadier-General Milo S. Hascall was left as the garrison of Knoxville, with the heavy artillery organization under Brigadier-General Davis Tillson and a small detachment of cavalry. Hascall was particularly directed to scout far out to the eastward, watching for any attempt of the enemy to pass along the mountain base, as well as against any effort to capture the city by a coup de main.

Our marching column numbered 13,873 officers and men, distributed thus: Wood's division, 5477; Parke's detachments of two divisions of the Ninth Corps, 3031; Stoneman with the second division of the Twenty-third Corps, 3363; Garrard's cavalry, 2002. [Footnote: Id. pp. 502, 504.] Longstreet's forces were 20,787, of which 5034 were cavalry. Schofield's purpose was essentially that of a reconnoissance in force to learn definitely the composition and apparent plans of the enemy, though willing to accept a defensive battle if a favorable opportunity should occur. If Longstreet were finally leaving East Tennessee, Grant's intention was to send all troops of the Fourth Corps back to Thomas, so as to concentrate the Army of the Cumberland in preparation for the spring campaign in Georgia. [Footnote:Id., pp. 456, 490.]

On the 24th of February we were at Strawberry Plains. The long trestle bridge of the railway had been destroyed when our forces had concentrated at Knoxville a month before, and our first task was to complete a wagon bridge across the Holston so that we could move onward toward New Market and Morristown with a possibility of keeping up a supply of food. We did not wait for the bridge to be completed, however, and orders were issued on the 26th to begin crossing, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 474.] using flatboats for the men, whilst the artillery and wagons used a ford that was then passable. Grant did not expect Schofield to march his infantry farther than Strawberry Plains, but to push the reconnoissance beyond that point with cavalry. [Footnote: Id., p. 495.] Schofield, however, felt that to do his work thoroughly, his horsemen should be strongly and closely supported. On the 29th our headquarters were at New Market and the column on its way to Morristown. We overtook it in the afternoon and occupied the town that evening. As so often happens in war, our movement had hardly begun when the fine weather ended, and we marched from Strawberry Plains in pouring rain, over wretched roads which rapidly became worse. This delayed the troops and only part were at Morristown when darkness fell. These were disposed so as to cover the town in front with pickets well out, and a detachment of cavalry a mile or two farther forward. Most of the horsemen were on our flanks, covering roads by which our position could be turned.

All the information we could get pointed to an abandonment of East Tennessee by the enemy, but it was hard for us to believe that the sudden retreat of Longstreet, after his announced intention to attack Knoxville, was not under orders which indicated a plan we ought to fathom. We had heard of his first purpose at many places on our road, for it is almost impossible to keep the people of the country from learning the destination of a moving column, and now the inhabitants who remained at Morristown were aware that Longstreet's men regarded Bristol as their destination. There were, however, rumors and some evidence that Longstreet had stopped his retreat and was about to turn upon us. This called for a careful disposal of our troops and preparation for supporting them promptly with those that were still on the road. As nothing came of it, there would be no reason for mentioning it, except that it was the occasion for an amusing bit of personal experience of my own.

Some of the more pronounced Secessionists had left the town with Longstreet, through fear that the loyalists might take vengeance on them for some of the wrongs they had suffered. We occupied as headquarters a house thus vacated, but it was absolutely empty and gave us only a roof over our heads. We had a few camp stools and a camp desk or two, and slept on the bare floor wrapped in our blankets, with our saddles for pillows. Late in the evening some loyal men brought in such reports of the enemy advancing to attack us at daybreak, that as a measure of prudence determined to go the "grand rounds" an hour or two before day, and especially to visit the cavalry outpost at the front and send forward a reconnoissance from it to make sure of full warning if there was any need of it. When I was roused by the sergeant of the headquarters guard and my horse was brought to the door, it was not a night for a pleasure excursion. A cold winter rain was pouring down, and the blackness of darkness was intense. I took only a single orderly with me, buttoned my cape close over my great-coat, pulled down the rim of my felt hat and started off, trusting to my horse to keep the road till my eyes should get a little used to the darkness. As both armies had encamped around the town, the fences were of course all gone and the wagons had cut so many tracks to right and left that it seemed all road, or rather all mire and no road. Whilst we were among the camps the smouldering camp-fires were of some help, but when we got beyond these we could only splash along cautiously, steering for the smaller fires which marked the picket reserves. Beyond the line of sentries there was nothing to guide us, and keeping our direction as well as we could, we plodded on until a faint glimmer showed the camp of the cavalry outpost. It was in an open wood, and the dying camp-fires gave only light enough to show the tall trunks of the forest trees, black against a background of dull red. Part of Longstreet's army had been in cantonments here during the winter, and many of the huts were still standing, their dim outlines and irregular forms hardly visible, but giving an air of weird mystery to the surroundings. Some of these huts were occupied by the cavalry, and the first we came upon had as its tenant an Irish dragoon, and him we turned out to guide us to the captain's quarters. The occasionally flashing light only seemed to make the darkness visible, and the Irishman told us to follow him closely, "and look out," says he, "for there's pits every little way where thim ribils dug foundations for their chimbleys." He started on and I followed, keeping my horse's nose close to his shoulder. Suddenly he disappeared, and as I jerked my horse back on his haunches, Paddy sung out: "Och! I've found one, sorr!" and sure enough he had gone in, head and heels, in one of the "pits." He scrambled out and cautiously led my horse around the hole, but we had hardly gone a rod further before Pat went out again, like a candle, with "Be jabers, I've found another." But he took his mud baths good-humoredly, and led us without further accident to the captain. From him I got the reports from the vedettes at the front, and after ordering a reconnoissance to be pushed well forward, turned back to inspect the infantry line of sentinels. These were generally found on the alert and well instructed, but as we went across ditches and miry fields we came suddenly upon one asleep in a fence corner where he had tried to make some shelter from the storm. When the horses halted beside him, he sprang up bewildered, and stood bolt upright, trying to look at us, evidently uncertain whether we were rebels, but too confused to utter a single word. I ordered him to call the corporal of the guard, and asked him if that was the way he guarded the camp. He began to stammer out denials of being asleep with a foreign accent and in broken English, which made his stupidity seem more stupid. I reported him to the officer of the guard, but finding he was a raw recruit, I refrained from ordering him before a general court-martial, and directed a lighter summary punishment that his regimental officers could impose.

After examining the more important part of the line, we splashed back to quarters as day was breaking, got a fire built in our cheerless room, hung my coat, which was heavy with water, before it to dry, and crossing my mud-cased legs, sat down for half an hour of rest and revery, listening for carbine shots at the front that would tell if the scouting party had found an enemy. The rest of the staff were still sleeping, oblivious of war's alarms and preparing for the work of the day by trusting the watching to those on duty, as they would be trusted in turn when similarly on guard. How often were such incidents repeated, night and day, through campaign after campaign, till they became so familiar that it seems almost puerile to mention them!

On beginning the movement to Morristown, orders had been given to press the rebuilding of the railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains, for our continuance so far from our supplies depended upon it. We had no trains of wagons to keep up our communication with our base, and the utmost we could do was to carry four or five days' supply with us. We therefore spent three or four days in vigorous efforts to gain information of the enemy by means of our cavalry. We learned that Longstreet held the line of Bays Mountain, where the railway passes through Bull's Gap, thirteen miles above Morristown. His right flank seemed to be at Rogersville on the Holston, and his left rested near the Nolachucky beyond Greeneville. We could not learn that any of his forces except Martin's cavalry had left him, though we were mystified by the disappearance of Ransom's division from the accounts of the enemy's organization. The fact was that that officer was transferred to the cavalry command, and the organization of his division was merged in the others.

On the 2d of March Grant directed that McCook's division of cavalry should go back to Thomas as soon as they could possibly be spared, and on Schofield's reporting the results of our reconnoissances, he advised the latter not to bring on an engagement, but to content ourselves with holding as much of the country as we could. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 14.] The bill creating the grade of lieutenant-general was now the law, and Grant had been promoted to it. On the invitation of the President he was about to go to Washington for consultation, keeping in telegraphic communication with his department commanders. [Footnote: Id., p. 17.] Consequently it agreed well with his views to let affairs remain quiet during his absence. The rains continued, however, and even if he had desired further advance it would have been out of the question till the bridge at Strawberry Plains was rebuilt. The rations brought with us were exhausted, and on the 4th we withdrew the infantry fourteen miles, to a position four miles above New Market, where we hoped to be able to feed the troops with our few wagons, until the railroad should again be available.

Headquarters in the field were established at New Market, and I remained there with authority to direct and support the cavalry movements actively kept up in our front. General Schofield was thus enabled to spend part of his time at Knoxville attending to the clothing and supply of the troops, the gathering of reinforcements, return of veterans, and all the matters of department administration which centred there. In case of the necessity of combined action in Grant's absence, Thomas was authorized to assume command.

The Holston bridge at Strawberry Plains was completed on March 11th, and our forces were at once put in motion for Morristown, where we once more encamped on the 12th. Nothing new had been learned of the enemy; but there was nothing to learn, for Longstreet quietly occupied the line of Bays Mountain, and, like ourselves, was busy getting his troops clothed and shod, while he discussed with the Richmond authorities various plans of campaign. The cavalry ordered back to Johnston was making its way along the base of the mountains, and occasional news of their advance was exaggerated into stories of all Longstreet's army being in motion. Schofield very wisely thought the best way to know what his enemy was doing was to be as near him as practicable without assaulting his strong positions with an inferior force, and therefore ordered the fresh advance as soon as the railway could be made to transport supplies.

On the 14th Grant was again at Nashville, and took immediate steps to send the Ninth Corps to Burnside at Annapolis, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 67.] in accordance with an arrangement which was settled at the Washington conferences. Schofield was directed to have no delay in getting the Ninth Corps off, and he issued his formal orders to that effect on the 16th. [Footnote:Id., p. 82.] This reduced the forces in East Tennessee to a very small number, but a bold front was preserved and active reconnoitering kept up. On the 18th Stoneman's infantry was placed at Mossy Creek, between New Market and Morristown, and Wood with two brigades of his division was ordered to Rutledge about half-way to Cumberland Gap. The other brigade was placed at Strawberry Plains to protect the stores accumulated there. The cavalry which remained to Schofield was divided, part reporting to Stoneman and part to Wood, and the country was carefully watched from the Nolachucky on the east to Cumberland Gap on the northwest. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. pp. 88, 89.] I was personally directed to keep headquarters in the field, with power to act, in emergencies and in matters of detail, in Schofield's name, while the general returned to the department headquarters at Knoxville, where he made to Sherman, as his now superior, a full report of the situation, with suggestions as to the future work of the army of the Ohio. [Footnote: Id., p. 96.] It was now settled that a new campaign, both East and West, should open in April, if possible, and everything else was to be made subservient to preparation for it. Steps were taken to bring back the furloughed veterans, to remount the cavalry in Kentucky and bring it forward, and to secure such additional infantry as should enable Schofield to take the field with three strong divisions of foot, and at least two of horse, besides leaving about ten thousand men in Kentucky and five thousand in East Tennessee.

The question what should be the work of the Army of the Ohio had naturally interested us who belonged to it, and while Grant was in Washington I prepared and submitted to General Schofield a sketch of a plan of campaign. It was based on the assumption that the Army of the Potomac would not operate by its left along the lowlands of Virginia, as McClellan had done, but would follow the railway through Culpepper and Orange Court House to Richmond. This route was in a high and healthy country, the streams would be crossed where they were comparatively insignificant, and the natural obstacles to an advance seemed much less formidable than upon the coast line. True, the army would have to depend upon the railway for its supplies, but so must Sherman in the West, and the Virginia line was only a fraction of his in length. It had the advantage of covering the Shenandoah valley as it advanced, and saving the large detachment which had to be devoted to that region and to the protection of Washington. But besides this (and this was the feature directly affecting us in East Tennessee), it opened for the Army of the Ohio a rôle of usefulness which seemed to me very important.

If Schofield were to take the field in Georgia, he could carry to Sherman, at most, some twelve or fourteen thousand infantry and six or eight of cavalry. The proper protection of Kentucky and East Tennessee required just about the same number of troops. His active column in the decisive campaign would therefore be only half of the forces in his department. Whenever it should be apparent that Georgia was our field of operations, Longstreet's twenty thousand men would be set free to join Lee in Virginia (as actually happened), or could be used in any other theatre of operations, whilst our garrisons could not be greatly reduced because small raids of mounted men could harry the wide expanse of country behind us unless all the important points were fully guarded. This also was demonstrated by our actual experience, and was a plain deduction from facts and principles. To drive Longstreet into Virginia and destroy the railroad so that he could not return was, therefore, to force the enemy to do the thing most advantageous to himself; that is, to concentrate his forces at the East in entire security that he would not be troubled by any advance on our part into southwestern Virginia.

If, on the other hand, we could move eastward along the railroad, we could bring our supplies to our camps as we advanced. Sherman's army behind us would make our base at Chattanooga safe; the great mountain barrier on the right would so cover our flank that scarce any force need be left in Tennessee, but all could be put in the aggressive column: the troops in Kentucky could be brought forward as we progressed, for our movement would cover that district; finally, on reaching the New River valley we could be joined by the forces in West Virginia. The advance, therefore, instead of being with a dwindling column would be with a growing one, and when the Army of the Potomac should approach the valley of the James, we should be ready with about forty thousand to come into line as the right wing of that army. Approaching Richmond from the north and west, the south side railroad would be at once in our grasp, and that to Petersburg within easy reach.

The objection to such a plan which would first occur to a critic, would be that convergent movements from so distant bases are proverbially uncertain; but this objection is greatly weakened by a study of the topography of the country. The Holston valley is so isolated that, approached by the railway line with a good base behind the column, it is strongly defensible, and if the advance is so timed as not to pass the New River before the Army of the Potomac should be swinging in toward Richmond from the northwest, Lee's army would be too fully occupied to make a detachment strong enough to oppose us, and the line by which he would operate against us would be threatened by the army of our friends. There would also be a safe line of retreat always open for us, in case of check. [Footnote: Napoleon was a master of strategy who fully appreciated the objections to exterior lines, but in the campaign of Wagram in 1809 he ordered Marmont to lead a column from Italy to Vienna by a route having strong resemblances to that which I have sketched. He regarded the character of the route itself, protected as it was by mountain ranges, and giving the assurance of a line of retreat, as making an exception to ordinary cases and overcoming the objections which would have been conclusive against attempting it in an open country.] Another interesting feature in this plan is that if railway communication between Sherman and the Potomac Army had been opened in the summer of 1864, it would have been an interior line of immense importance, not improbably modifying essentially the final campaign of the war.

General Schofield thought well enough of my sketch to adopt it as a suggestion to General Grant, which he submitted as soon as the latter returned from the East. The General-in-Chief had, however, already made arrangements which committed him to operating by the left of the Potomac Army. He had sent General W. F. Smith to Fortress Monroe for the purpose of taking the field at the head of the movable part of Butler's Army of the James, and Burnside's command at Annapolis was at that time expected to make another line of operations from the seacoast in North Carolina. There was also a disposition to leave in Sherman's hands all the departments which constituted the Military Division of the Mississippi, and allow him to concentrate the movable forces of all in his operations against Johnston. Grant therefore adhered to his original purpose of destroying enough of the railroad near the Watauga River to make a serious obstruction to hostile movements against East Tennessee from the east, and turn everything that could be spared into the advance upon Atlanta. Another thing which had weight with him was the fact that Schofield's confirmation as major-general was still delayed and opposed in the Senate, and he intended, if it were finally defeated, to consolidate the Department of the Ohio with that of the Cumberland under General Thomas. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 11.]

On the 29th of March General Sherman visited Schofield at Knoxville, and a full understanding was reached regarding the place the Army of the Ohio was to take in the great campaign of the spring. All the troops in the department were to constitute the Twenty-third Corps, and Schofield was to command the moving column in the field as well as the department. To avoid the inconvenience of having a double head to this column, Stoneman was to be transferred to the command of the cavalry in place of Sturgis, and Schofield was to be assigned to the formal command of the corps. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. pp. 221, 268, 312.] Sturgis was then to be sent to Memphis to take command of the column there organizing for the purpose of operating against Forrest.

As to operations in the upper valley of the Holston, it was determined to occupy Bull's Gap at an early day, and to keep up such an apparent purpose of advancing as should detain Longstreet in East Tennessee as long as possible. If he retreated he was to be followed, so as to induce him to burn the railway bridges, and thus to avoid disclosing our own purpose of leaving that portion of the valley which we should plainly proclaim if we ourselves should destroy the railway. Everything was to be ready for movement, and at the last moment, if the enemy had not already done it, we were to burn railway bridges and tear up the track for a considerable distance. Then the divisions which were to take the field in Georgia were to march rapidly to Cleveland, and come in on the left of Sherman's grand army as he advanced from Chattanooga.

As the plan of campaign thus took definite shape, it gave the occasion also for a settlement of my personal problem of permanent assignment to duty. It had become evident that there was no room for transfer to another command, and the active part marked out for the Twenty-third Corps removed the only ground for wishing it. No better soldiers could be found than those which made up our divisions, and my acquaintance with General Schofield had ripened into a confidence which made me entirely content to follow him as my commander. He warmly invited me to continue permanently in the position of chief of staff, but gave me the alternate choice of one of the divisions of the active column. My preference for responsible command in the field decided me to take a division, and by his further permission I chose the third, in which were a considerable number of officers who had served with me in other campaigns. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 245.] I would not be understood, however, to depreciate the position of chief of staff of such a department and army. Properly filled, few positions in active service could be pleasanter or more useful. I had tested this during the six weeks preceding, and had found the associations and the duty every way most agreeable. The general was always prompt to assume his proper responsibility and to order the movements or the administrative acts which are peculiarly the province of the commander; but he gave me the task of arranging the subordinate details, and the authority to direct them in his name. To distribute the parts each corps or division was to perform; to co-ordinate all the arrangements so that they should move harmoniously; to bring to a common centre all the information, external and internal, which affected the conduct and efficiency of the whole; to supervise the matters of organization, of equipment, and of supply; to consult with the medical director as to hospital work and the sanitary condition of the army, and to be guarantor that the common end is vigorously and intelligently pursued by every part of the army,--all this, as scarcely needs telling, makes a chief of staff the right arm of the commander, and his most trusted adviser and confidant. He makes his commander feel free to give his own thought to the larger problems of a campaign, with confidence that the whole machinery of the army will work smoothly toward the object which he has in view. I did not then, nor do I now, underestimate the importance of the duty which an industrious staff officer may thus perform, and I had found it made personally pleasant by the even temper and appreciative justice of General Schofield's rule. I had, however, formed so strong a predilection for the immediate and active conduct of troops in the field, that this determined me to choose the division command. In the new organization of the corps I should, in this, report directly to the general, and should be next in rank to him (in the infantry) by virtue of seniority, so that in his absence, or when two divisions were temporarily detached from the army, I should exercise a superior command. These were advantages which every experienced soldier estimates highly, and I was to enjoy them, until good fortune and the steady friendship of my superiors gave me, a second time, and this time in permanent form, the corps command with the rank belonging to it. There was no mistake, therefore, in my choice of duty; and considering the part Sherman's whole army was to play in the remaining campaigns of the war, it was a matter of personal good fortune also that the Army of the Ohio became an integral part of the great western organization, and marched southward, not eastward.

On the staff I had been thrown into intimate relations to Colonel William M. Wherry, senior aide-de-camp, and Major J. A. Campbell, adjutant-general. These officers continued to the end of the war in these positions, which they filled with great credit and usefulness. Major Campbell was admirably fitted for the supervision of the records and the correspondence of the army, and for reducing to the form of clear and succinct orders the directions of the general. He was accurate, systematic, and untiring; always at his post, whether it were at his desk in camp, or by the side of his chief in the field. Of slight, almost frail body, with an intellectual face, he looked unequal to rough field work, but showed a stamina in fact which many a more robust man envied. Colonel Wherry was the incessantly active personal representative of the general, intrusted with his oral orders, and making for him those examinations and investigations which are only satisfactory when the commander has learned to trust the eye and the cool judgment of his assistant as his own. Wherry had been with General Schofield from the first campaign in Missouri in 1861, and both were with Lyon when he fell at Wilson's Creek. He remained his confidential aide through the whole war, and for years afterward, being early appointed from Missouri to the line of one of the new regiments of the regular army. Lithe, graceful, and genial, he was always welcome, when he came to a point where fighting was going on, to learn for the general the actual situation or to bring his orders. [Footnote: Wherry is now (1899) Brigadier-General of the United States Army, retired, after brilliant service in the campaign of Santiago, Cuba.]

During the winter the division of the Fourth Corps commanded by Brigadier-General Thomas J. Wood had been in closest connection with us. It had taken part in all the marchings and countermarchings of the period when I was chief of staff, and I had thus begun an acquaintance with its commander which was to grow into lasting friendship. General Wood was colonel of the Second Regular Cavalry, a Kentuckian who had earnestly taken the National side, and an influential officer of the old army. His intelligence and activity were very marked, and his courage was of the cool indomitable character most highly prized in divisions of a great army. Of medium height, solid but not large build, dark hair and complexion, high forehead, he was a noticeable man in any assemblage of officers. A fluent talker, attentive to polite forms of speech as well as of conduct, he was liked and respected throughout the army, and especially in the Army of the Cumberland, where he had served throughout the war. He had won promotion by gallant and meritorious services again and again, when at the battle of Chickamauga it was his ill fortune to receive the famous order to "close up on Brannan and support him." The situation made the order ambiguous, but Wood understood it to mean that he should move to the left till he should find himself in rear of Brannan's division, since another division was between them in the line. He thought it a strange order, but thought also that Rosecrans must know why he sent it, and that it was "his not to reason why" but to obey. The obedience opened the gap through which Longstreet's men poured, breaking the line and routing part of the right wing. Wood took the place assigned him by Thomas in the horse-shoe curve around the Snodgrass hill, and did his full share of the desperate fighting which held that part of the field. But he had thus become the subject of a controversy, and the friends of Rosecrans charged him with a too literal obedience, and a failure to use a sound discretion in his action. The result was that whilst Rosecrans was removed from active field service, Wood still found himself under a cloud, and opposed by influences which stood in the way of his promotion till the war was almost ended. He continued to be distinguished in every engagement of the Atlanta campaign and that of Nashville, and no division saw harder or more honorable service than his.

The first week in April saw the changes in the organization of the Twenty-third Corps which I have indicated. On the 3d I was relieved of staff duty and assigned to the third division, with orders to proceed at once to Bull's Gap and take temporary command of the corps whilst General Stoneman should hasten to Kentucky to prepare the cavalry corps for active service. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. pp. 245, 259, 268.] I think the change was agreeable to Stoneman, for he was most at home with mounted troops and liked that service. Schofield's permanent assignment to the Twenty-third Corps was made on April 4th by the President, though the general had still to await for some time the action of the Senate on the confirmation of his promotion. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 258.] His enemies were still persistent, and even succeeded in obtaining a report of the Senate committee against his confirmation. General Sherman wrote to his brother, the senator, in behalf of his subordinate;[Footnote:Id., pp. 332, 343.] but it was not till General Grant was back in Washington and used his powerful personal influence that the confirmation was finally secured after the campaign had opened. It seemed at one time that not even the manifest mischief of deranging the organization of the army, as deliberately settled by both Grant and Sherman, would overcome the political hostility arrayed against him. This was without any reasonable foundation. Although Schofield was not given to political discussion, my closeness to him enabled me to know that he was an earnestly loyal man whose heart was warmly engaged in the National cause. He believed in emancipation as a right and politic war measure, and in fighting the rebellion vigorously till it should be conquered. He had made enemies among the Kansas politicians because he tried to prevent the war on that frontier from degenerating into a vendetta when murder and robbery should take the place of civilized warfare. Some influential radicals in Missouri were hostile because he held the scales even between them and the conservative Union men.

At Bull's Gap I found the corps headquarters in a shingle-palace which had been built for a hotel at the railway station, and which was now the only house there. It was empty as a barn and fast going to ruin, but it gave shelter for our office work. Wood's division of the Fourth Corps was put in march to join the Army of the Cumberland, and we were left to watch the enemy and await the moment when the destruction of the railway and our own march southward should begin. We soon had a curious bit of evidence that Longstreet had finally abandoned the expectation of re-occupying East Tennessee. It was found in the applications made by women to join their husbands who were in the Confederate service. The "grapevine telegraph" was an "institution" during the whole war. News which was either interesting or important was passed on through the lines, and it was impossible to be so rigid in precautions as greatly to delay it. To stop it was utterly futile. Longstreet had hardly received the orders from his government to prepare to rejoin Lee's army in Virginia, when the headquarters of our army at Knoxville felt the pressure of applications for leave to pass the lines. On the 6th of April a party of forty women and children came up by railway, to be sent through the lines under a flag. They were of course without tents or any means of camping out, and the crazy building in which I had my quarters was that night as crowded and as picturesque as an Asiatic caravanserai. The rain and the almost impassable roads made their journey anything but one of pleasure, but by the aid of the few wagons at the post they went forward in a day or two. A second party, about as large, followed in the course of a week, and had even a rougher time than the first. There were delays on the part of their friends, in sending trains and escort to meet them at the break in the railway, but the hope of rejoining loved ones gave them courage, and they bore cheerfully their sufferings and privations.

The bitterness of the feud between the loyalists and disunionists in the Holston valley can hardly be imagined by those who did not witness it. The persecutions of the loyal mountaineers had been such that when their turn of ruling came they would have been more than human if they had not retaliated. The organization of home-guards gave to these armed bodies of men the power, and with it came the temptation to abuse it. The memory of the men who had been hanged for bridge-burning, and of those who had languished and died in prison charged with no crime but disloyalty to the Confederacy, was a constant stimulus to severity. Their blood seemed to cry from the ground. We found a constant necessity for moderating their passions, and it was not always possible to keep them within the bounds of civilized warfare. My experience in West Virginia was repeated with some phases of still greater intensity. When we got these loyal men away from home, campaigning on distant fields, there was no trouble in enforcing discipline, and they showed no more fierceness of personal retaliation than other troops. I suspect this will everywhere be true, in greater or less measure, and that in all wars it will be found for the interest of humanity not to allow local troops to garrison their own homes.

The scouts and irregular organizations were, as usual, the most likely to fall into excesses. I had an example of this, falling under my own eye at the time I am speaking of, and showing how, under this intense exasperation, the "bush-whacking" degenerated into guerilla war in which no quarter was given on either side. I had sent out a reconnoissance of a party of Indiana cavalry accompanied by some thirty of the Tennessee scouts, the whole force about a hundred in number. They had encountered a hostile party of "irregulars" some thirty strong, and had routed them. They brought in fifteen prisoners, and reported ten of the enemy killed. Those who were captured had all surrendered to the Indiana men, and the Tennesseeans were disposed to complain that quarter had been given. True, the party which had been attacked was said to have committed great outrages, and to have been engaged in forcing loyal men into the Confederate Army under their conscription laws. The chief of the scouts came to my quarters, and I put to him the ordinary question as to the luck of his last expedition. "Oh," said he, in a dejected nasal tone; "some pretty good luck and some bad luck." "What bad luck?" said I, thinking some of his men had got hurt. "Oh, them Indiana cavalry fellows let the captain of the gang and fourteen of his men surrender to 'em." "And what became of the rest?" "We had to deal with them," said he, significantly; "and they didn't surrender." Such is civil war when it becomes a deadly feud between old neighbors and acquaintances.

The month of April ran on with continued activity of reconnoitring parties, but no larger movements. The spring was unusually backward. There was a flurry of snow on the 16th, but it did not lie on the ground, and about the 20th lovely spring weather began in earnest. The best evidence we had that our lines of communication were getting in more efficient condition, was the arrival of an agent of the Sanitary Commission with a large shipment of fresh vegetables for gratuitous distribution. We were sorely in need of them. There was a good deal of incipient scurvy in camp, and scarce any one was wholly free from disorders caused by too restricted diet. Our regular rations were bacon and flour, varied occasionally by a small issue of dried white beans or rice. This was nutritious enough, but after some months' steady use, nature pretty imperatively demanded a change. The noble organization of the Commission had been watching for the opportunity, and the arrival of a generous supply of potatoes, onions, and pickled cabbage made feast days for everybody from the general down. At my headquarters we had been confined to the soldiers' rations, and it was impossible to get anything else. The only ferment to raise our bread was saleratus, and we had become very tired of saleratus biscuit. No luxuries ever tasted so well as these plain vegetables. Our physical condition craved them, and they were food and medicine at once. The sauerkraut was finely shaved cabbage laid down in brine, and a steaming platter of it made the pièce de résistance of our camp dinner as long as it lasted. The onions we sliced and ate raw with a dressing of vinegar. The gusto with which we enjoyed this change of diet remains a vivid remembrance after a quarter of a century, and is the best proof of our need of it. The health of the whole camp was restored, and we were "hard as nails" during the year of rough campaigning that was to follow.

The first week in May was the time of rendezvous for Sherman's grand army in northern Georgia, and with the opening of the last week in April the signal was given to destroy the railroad between Bull's Gap and the Watauga River, or further if the enemy should leave the crossing of that stream unharmed. Our position at the gap was high in the cleft of Bays Mountain through which the railway passes and then turns southeastward to the Nolachucky. The road then goes up the valley of that stream and over a ridge to the Watauga, which runs to the northwest, joining the Holston again by a route which is nearly at right angles to the general trend of the valley. The Watauga is not easily fordable at an ordinary stage of water, and thus the triangle between the Holston on the left, the Watauga in front, and the Nolachucky on the right, made the debatable ground of the upper valley. Whilst we held the barrier at Bull's Gap the enemy could not stay on the hither side of the Watauga, nor could we pass the river and stop short of a strong position an equal distance beyond.

We made a strong demonstration of cavalry supported by infantry, as if we were determined to cross the Watauga and push on into Virginia. The Confederate cavalry set fire to the bridge, as we expected them to do. One brigade was ordered to Jonesboro, to march back destroying all the railway bridges and tearing up and twisting the iron rails as far as possible. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. pp. 477, 492.] With another force I began in person a similar work of destruction on the section nearest Bull's Gap. Time could only be given us for this work till the 27th of April, but on the evening of that day my division was reunited at the gap, having torn up and twisted about one third of the track over a space of fifty miles, and thoroughly destroyed all the wooden bridges. [Footnote: Id., pp. 500, 512.]

The footsore and sick were put on a railway train, and with the rest I began the march for Knoxville. As General Sherman was urgent for speed in our movement, the columns were kept near the railway and the trains were run to meet them, taking the men in detachments. The first day of May found us at Charleston, the crossing of the Hiwassee River, with two divisions of the Twenty-third corps and with General Schofield in our midst. A new division from Indiana was on its way, by rail, to join us at Cleveland, and it was certain that we could be in our place as left wing, before the 5th, the day assigned by Sherman. Two days were given to getting up and organizing our trains, and on Tuesday, the 3d, we marched at daybreak, with our field organization complete. The Atlanta campaign was begun. General Schofield went over to Chattanooga to meet Sherman, and the command of the corps on the march was committed to me. [Footnote: Id., xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 5, 22, 32, 48.] On the 4th, leaving Cleveland, we crossed the Georgia line and advanced to Red Clay, where, with the Army of the Cumberland on our right, the union of Sherman's forces in the field was completed.

At the Hiwassee we were a hundred and forty miles from Bull's Gap, and had made the distance in three days, marching half the way and being carried the other half by rail. In going south we seemed to meet the advancing spring. In the upper valley we could only see a suspicion of green, here and there, on an early tree, but at our Sunday camp at Charleston in a fine bend of the Hiwassee, a fresh green robe covered all the hills, and the sun was so bright and warm that the shade of my clean new tent was very comfortable. It would be hard to find a scene better making a romance of campaigning than that about us. Chilhowee and the great Smoky Mountains piled their deep blue masses against the eastern horizon, whilst at our feet rolled as beautiful a river as ever bore a musical Indian name. The grassy banks rise about a hundred feet above the water, and then the hills roll and rise around us in charming variety. Near the water's edge a great spring pours out from the bank in a swift steady stream two yards wide and six inches deep, giving sweet and pure water enough for a whole army, and the zigzag paths to it are filled with picturesque groups of soldiers loaded with camp kettles or canteens. We should have been dull indeed if we had not felt the exhilaration of the scene.



CHAPTER XXXV

GRANT, HALLECK AND SHERMAN--JOHNSTON AND MR. DAVIS

Grant's desire for activity in the winter--Scattering to live--Subordinate movements--The Meridian expedition--Use of the Mississippi--Sherman's estimate of it--Concentration to be made in the spring--Grant joins the Potomac Army--Motives in doing so--Meade as an army commander--Halleck on concentration--North Carolina expedition given up--Burnside to join Grant--Old relations of Sherman and Halleck--Present cordial friendship--Frank correspondence--The supply question--Railway administration--Bridge defences--Reduction of baggage--Tents--Sherman on spies and deserters--Changes in Confederate army--Bragg relieved--Hardee--Beauregard--Johnston--Davis's suggestion of plans--Correspondence with Johnston--Polk's mediation--Characteristics--Bragg's letters--Lee writes Longstreet--Johnston's dilatory discussion--No results--Longstreet joins Lee--Grant and Sherman have the initiative--Prices in the Confederacy.

The threshold of the new campaign is a fit place to pick up the threads of the relations of Sherman to his superiors and his subordinates, and to notice the manner in which he laid out the responsible work before him.

Grant had no thought of suspending operations in winter, further than circumstances should make it imperative. As soon as the siege of Knoxville was raised, he applied himself earnestly to the question, What next? His first choice would have been to start from Chattanooga as a base, and make the Confederate Army his object. The insuperable obstacle to this was the impossibility, at the time, of supplying the forces already collected on the upper Tennessee. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 503.] The railroad to Nashville must be practically rebuilt and made much more efficient than it was, or both Thomas's and Foster's armies would be tied fast without the possibility of advancing. To make it possible to feed Sherman's auxiliary force, he sent it down the river to Bellefonte, some thirty miles below Bridgeport, opened steamboat communication with it, and set it at work repairing the railway from Nashville to Decatur and from Decatur to Stevenson. This would furnish an additional line to Chattanooga when completed, and would make an accumulation of stores there a possibility. He saw the risks involved in this scattering of forces, but he had no choice; they must scatter to live. He did not mean that the army should be inactive, however; as early as the 7th of December, 1863, he wrote quite fully to Halleck suggesting a movement from the lower Mississippi on Mobile, using for this purpose the forces that would be relieved from guarding the lines about Chattanooga. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 349.]

By the middle of the month he had begun to organize a cavalry force under Gen. W. Sooy Smith, to move against Forrest in West Tennessee, and was giving shape to other plans of activity. [Footnote: Id., pp. 429, 431, 473.] Sherman had taken a short leave of absence to visit his family upon the death of one of his sons, a bright lad, whose loss was a severe bereavement. On his return to duty, he was directed to go down the Mississippi, visit the important posts of his department, and take steps to suppress guerilla interference with the navigation of the Mississippi. Before leaving his command, he had suggested an active movement of part of his army in northern Alabama, to break up the railroad in the neighborhood of Corinth, whilst he himself led a force up the Yazoo River to attack Granada from the south, with a similar purpose. He thought he could do this and get back in time to take part in the "plan of grand campaign" which Grant was studying. In the same letter he said he deemed Sooy Smith "too mistrustful of himself for a leader against Forrest," and suggested Brigadier-General Joseph A. Mower, of whose energy and courage he had a high opinion. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 445.]

On the subject of the necessity of protecting the river navigation by every means, Sherman expressed himself in superlatives, as he was apt to do, but his meaning was plain and sensible. He said to Logan, to secure its safety "I would slay millions. On that point I am not only insane, but mad," and will convince the natives that "though to stand behind a big cotton-wood and shoot at a passing boat is good sport and safe, it may still reach and kill their friends and families hundreds of miles off." [Footnote: Id. vol. xxx. pt. iii. p. 459.] Out of this discussion came finally his suggestion of an extensive movement from Vicksburg upon Meridian for the purpose of destroying the railway lines, especially in the vicinity of the latter place, and of isolating the region bordering on the Mississippi, so that a small force could garrison it and protect commerce. The suggestion was adopted by Grant. With Sherman's column the cavalry under Sooy Smith was to co-operate. [Footnote: Id., pp. 473, 527.]

Meridian was made the objective point of this movement, though Grant intimated to Halleck that if Sherman found it would not too greatly prolong the subordinate campaign, he might march on Mobile. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 100.] When the march began, Sherman allowed it to be given out that he would attack Mobile, but this was to deceive the enemy. In his correspondence with General Banks he limited his task to that which has been stated, though he asked Banks to help him keep up the notion that Mobile was aimed at, as it would deter the enemy from heavily reinforcing General Polk by the garrison there and by troops sent from Atlanta. "I must return to the army in the field in Alabama in February," said he, "but propose to avail myself of the short time allowed me here in the department, to strike a blow at Meridian and Demopolis." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 114.] In this view the movement was a success, notwithstanding the failure of the cavalry column to co-operate. [Footnote: Id., p. 498.] The biographer of General Polk disputes the importance and the permanence of the interruption of railway communication in Mississippi; [Footnote: Leonidas Polk, Bishop and General, vol. ii. p. 309.] but it is certain that no important hostile movement from that region was made again till Hood's campaign against Thomas a year later, and that was seriously if not fatally delayed by the want of railway communication between Florence or Tuscumbia and the interior of the Gulf States.

On his first visit to Washington after he became lieutenant-general, Grant found that it was the general expectation of members of Congress that he should infuse his personal energy into the next campaign of the army in Virginia. He learned also that the President, the Cabinet, and General Halleck despaired of the accomplishment of this by any stringency of orders from a distance, and thought it could be done only when he should be near enough to solve questions as they arose by his personal presence and influence. As a subordinate, few men could do better service than General Meade; but he seemed to develop a caution amounting almost to inaction in the presence of the Confederate Army under General Lee. This had allowed the Richmond government to send Longstreet's corps to reinforce Bragg at the west; and it was because the grand opportunity was not improved by Meade that it became necessary to send Hooker a thousand miles with the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps to reinforce Rosecrans. Halleck expressed the sentiment of the administration and of the country when he wrote to Grant on December 13th, "As General Meade's operations have failed to produce any results, Lee may send by rail reinforcements to Longstreet without our knowing it. This contingency must also be considered." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 396.] It was, in fact, what Longstreet strenuously urged his government to do. As late as February 17th, when it was certain that Grant would soon be in command of all the National armies, Halleck, in a long letter of which the burden was that Lee's army must be made the objective in the Eastern campaign, plainly intimated that Meade could not give the Army of the Potomac the necessary aggressive energy. "Meade retreated before Lee with a very much larger force," he said, "and he does not now deem himself strong enough to attack Lee's present army." [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pt. ii. p. 411] After mentioning the opportunities to break or defeat the enemy which had been lost or not improved at Antietam and Chancellorsville, he adds that of Meade after Gettysburg, and continues: "I am also of opinion that General Meade could have succeeded recently at Mine Run had he persevered in his attack." [Footnote: Id., p. 412.] Pointing out that McClellan had operated by exterior lines, and Burnside, Hooker, and Meade by interior ones, and that all had alike failed, he argues that this does not prove anything against either line of operation, whether by the James River or by Culpepper; but the sound military principle still is to avoid scattering the eastern army by North Carolina expeditions and the like, which were then mooted, and to concentrate the forces in the east against Lee's army and fight it out to a finish. [Footnote:Id. p. 413.] The letter is an able one, but the reference to it is now made for the sole purpose of showing how the problem was placed before General Grant when the supreme responsibility was cast upon him. He accepted the view so ably presented. He did not allow the proposed expedition to be made by Burnside, though he had himself favored it before; but united his troops to the army on the Rapidan. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 143.] He kept up for a time a nominal duality of organization, not putting Burnside under Meade or Meade under Burnside. This made an ostensible reason for the next step, which was to take the field there in person and try what effect his own inflexible will might have in giving an aggressive impetus to that army. It seemed to him to be a choice between that and a continued dead-lock to the end of the chapter. Thus it was that Grant gave up his own desire to continue at the head of the western armies which he had led to successive and glorious victories. Thus it was that Sherman was right in saying to him, "Like yourself, you take the biggest load." [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 313.] The decision was not prompted by egotism. There was no vanity in Grant's composition. He simply saw, as he thought, that in that way decisive progress might be made, and so he quietly went that way.

Sherman's relations to Halleck had always been close and most friendly. Outside of official communications they had kept up a personal correspondence, part of which is found in the Official Records. From the day when it became apparent that Grant was to become lieutenant-general, Sherman yielded to his impulse to comfort and reassure his older friend on what must necessarily involve disappointment if not humiliation. In a long letter from the Mississippi in January, he takes pleasure in telling how he had spoken in public of Halleck's good qualities and talents. "I spoke of your indomitable industry and called to mind how, when Ord, Loeser, Spotts, and I were shut up in our stateroom, trying to keep warm with lighted candles and playing cards on the old Lexington, off Cape Horn, you were lashed to your berth studying, boning harder than you ever did at West Point." [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 261.] This was on their voyage out to California during the Mexican War. In a cordial answer (February 16th), Halleck said he expected Grant to receive the promotion, and should most cordially welcome him to the chief command, glad himself to be relieved from so thankless and disagreeable a position. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 408.] He enlarged upon its difficulties, though he did not see, apparently, that it had been in his power to take the field as Grant afterward did, and that it was by his own act that he had become "simply a military adviser of the Secretary of War and the President." He bore witness to the fact that there was more harmony in the western army than in the eastern, saying, "There is less jealousy and backbiting and a greater disposition to assist each other." [Footnote: Ibid.] In reply Sherman assured Halleck of his own belief that Grant would prefer to command the "army of the centre" which was to advance from Chattanooga, and did not want the position of general-in-chief at Washington. [Footnote: Id., p. 498.]

At the beginning of April Sherman wrote again to Halleck, expressing his belief that he could make his army a unit in action and feeling. "We have never had," he said, "and God grant we never may have the dissensions which have so marred the usefulness of our fellows whom a common cause and common interests alone ought to unite as brothers." [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 222.] It was in this letter that he asked Halleck to say to the President that he would prefer not to be nominated to the vacant major-generalship in the regular army. "I have now all the rank necessary to command, and I believe all here concede to me the ability, yet accidents may happen, and I don't care about increasing the distance of my fall. The moment another appears on the arena better than me, I will cheerfully subside. Indeed, now, my preference would be to have my Fifteenth Corps, which was as large a family as I feel willing to provide for; yet I know Grant has a mammoth load to carry. He wants here some one who will fulfil his plans, whole and entire and at the time appointed, and he believes I will do it. I hope he is not mistaken. I know my weak points, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for past favors and advice, and will in the future heed all you may offer, with the deepest confidence in your ability and sincerity."

A single reference more will complete this sketch of the relations of those prominent men. The week before the opening of his campaign (April 24th) Sherman wrote again: "I see a mischievous paragraph that you are dissatisfied and will resign; of course I don't believe it. If I did, I would enter my protest. You possess a knowledge of law and of the principles of war far beyond that of any other officer in our service. You remember that I regretted your going to Washington for your own sake, but now that you are there you should not leave." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 469.] This hearty friendship and cordial comradeship lasted unbroken till Halleck's too famous advice to Mr. Stanton after Lincoln was assassinated, to direct Sherman's subordinates in the Gulf States and in the West not to obey the orders he might issue in pursuance of his convention with the Confederate General Johnston. That was a sore blow which shattered this lifelong friendship, though it now seems probable that had Halleck's dispatch to Stanton not been published without the rest of the correspondence, Sherman might have found possible a more innocent meaning for his words than they seemed to have when they were read by themselves. This, however, is not the place to discuss that subject. [Footnote: See Chap. L., post.]

In considering Sherman's means of supplying his army in the field, we must note the situation and connections of Nashville, which made it naturally the principal depot for operations in Alabama and Georgia. A hundred and eighty-six miles by rail south of the Ohio River, centrally situated as the capital of Tennessee, it was directly connected with Chattanooga by a hundred and fifty miles of railroad, and indirectly by way of Decatur, Alabama, and Stevenson, a line thirty-five miles longer. These railway connections would of themselves make Nashville an important post, but it had also the advantage of water communication with the Ohio. It lies at the southern bend of the Cumberland River, the course of which is nearly due north from the city to its mouth, and the stream is navigable for steamboats the greater part of the year. The Tennessee, a much larger river, is nearly parallel to the Cumberland in this part of its course, and a partially constructed railroad from its banks at Johnsonville to Nashville, seventy-odd miles, was completed during the winter. With these three lines of communication, there was very little danger that the great Nashville depot could run short of munitions or rations, or be seriously isolated by raids of the enemy. It was to communication between Chattanooga and Nashville that Sherman had to give his best thought and will. The War Department had sent out Colonel McCallum, the General Superintendent of Military Railways in January, and improvements had then been begun, which under Sherman's energetic command made a brilliant success of this part of the military administration through the whole campaign. [Footnote: See "Sherman" (Great Commanders Series), pp. 199 et seq. Also letter of McCallum to Stanton, Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 143-145: Order appointing Adna Anderson general superintendent of transportation and W. W. Wright chief engineer of construction, Id., p. 365: Sherman's order organizing the military use of the railways, Id., pt. iii. p. 279.] The management of the railways in use was given to Adna Anderson, and the engineering and bridge-construction to W. W. Wright. These gentlemen were both civil engineers and experts in railroad building and management. Military rank was given them later in order to enable them to control officers and men of the army on proper occasions. Their skill and energy were of inestimable value to the army, and gave them brilliant reputations which they fully earned. They remained in their military railway duties to the end of the war, and were distinguished in the same profession in civil life to the end of their lives. When Sherman assumed command of the Division of the Mississippi, about eighty carloads a day was the limit of the capacity of the road and the delivery at Chattanooga. It was only half of what was needed to insure rapid progress of the campaign. By the 1st of May it had increased to a hundred and thirty cars a day, with exceptional days on which the delivery ran higher; but a steady average of a hundred and fifty (the needed quantity) had not been reached, and every day's advance into Georgia would increase the length of the line. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. pp. 466, 490.]

In a characteristic letter to General Thomas, Sherman explained the necessity of having the railway management directed from his own headquarters instead of those of the Army of the Cumberland, and in one to Mr. Lincoln he tersely repelled the idea that he was unduly hard on the inhabitants of the country and their business. [Footnote: Id., p. 489; and vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 25, 33.] General Meigs, the quartermaster-general, who knew the country by personal inspection, fully agreed with Sherman and wrote him on April 20th, advising him to "resist the pressure of civilians and private donations and supplies; march your troops, and devote the cars solely to transportation of military necessities.... Many civilians," he added, "can give charitable, patriotic, benevolent, and religious reasons to be allowed to go to the front; the reasons are so good that nothing but an absolute and unchangeable prohibition of all such travel will do any good." [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 434.]

The business management of the military railways was a matter of greatest importance, but it must be supplemented by an adequate system of defence. To cut the long line and interrupt the communications of the army would, of course, be the constant effort of the enemy. Every wooden bridge across a stream was a most vulnerable point. A burnt bridge meant a delay of trains till it could be rebuilt, and Sherman's estimate that he must receive at the front a hundred and fifty car-loads daily, shows how soon trouble would be caused if the steady roll of car-wheels should cease. For the freight cars of that day, ten tons made a load, and with the light locomotives and iron rails then in use, twenty or thirty cars made a full train. A system of blockhouses for the protection of the bridges had been gradually developed by the engineers of the Army of the Cumberland on suggestions made by General Halleck and others, and was under the charge of Colonel W. E. Merrill, who enlarged and improved it. This able officer was retained at the head of the defensive system, and his success in it was noteworthy. [Footnote: Colonel Merrill has given a valuable memoir on the construction and use of the blockhouses, in "Ohio Loyal Legion Papers," vol. iii. p. 389. After the war, he was for many years United States Engineer in charge of Ohio River improvements.]

With a careful system of railway work went also thorough study of the wagon trains necessary in the field to carry the baggage of the army, its ammunition, and a few days' rations, its hospital supplies, and the records and papers of all the business departments. Besides the supplies for men, the food for the teams, for the cavalry horses, and for the horses of mounted officers makes in the aggregate a bulk and weight astonishing to those who for the first time undertake the calculation. Great droves of beef cattle accompanied the march, and were coming forward on all the roads from the country in the rear where they could be bought and collected. The purchase, driving, coralling, feeding, and distributing of these made, of itself, a great business for the commissaries of subsistence. The introduction of the shelter tent of two india-rubber blankets got us rid of the regimental trains, which at the beginning of the war had been the most unwieldy of all our impedimenta. The two soldiers who were thus partners in the little house they carried on their backs, clubbed all their arrangements for comfort, and by working together greatly reduced the hardships of campaigning. Sherman applied the full force of his mind and the strong impulse of his personal example to discarding everything not essential to the army work, and to securing the utmost mobility in his columns. Throughout the campaign his own headquarters looked small and bare compared with those of many of his subordinates. Some writers have ridiculed this, as if it were a mere "fad" of the general; but it was both wise and shrewd to keep before the army the constant lesson that privation was necessary, and that the orders on the subject must be obeyed, since the commander set the example of obedience. It was akin to Bonaparte's marching on foot through the burning sands of Syria after his repulse from St. Jean d'Acre. It was speaking to the soldiers in the ranks a language which they understood, and which helped them in their arduous work more than proclamations.

A marked trait of Sherman's military intellect was his accurate judgment of the force of his enemy, and his freedom from the common fault of overestimating the army opposed to him. In his correspondence with General Thomas in April, discussing the preparations for the campaign and the severe reduction of burdens to a scale which was "rather the limit of our aim than what we can really accomplish," he had occasion to acknowledge the receipt of information concerning the enemy which Thomas had collected. "I read the reports of your scouts with interest," he said, but added, "I usually prefer to make my estimate of the enemy from general reasoning rather than from the words of spies or deserters." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 323.] The remark is significant. Prior to the opening of a campaign, whilst affairs are quiet, pretty reliable information of an enemy's strength and positions may usually be got; but when the time of action comes, the very air is full of excitement, and the "secret service" is apt to be a machine for self-delusion. Precedent knowledge supplemented by actual contact with the enemy is the best reliance for a capable general. His own reasoning from trustworthy data at the earlier point of departure, is, with such aids, his best guide. He knows where his enemy must be and what his force ought to be, better than his spies, or the enemy's deserters who, by a common stratagem, may be really hostile spies stuffed with the disturbing information they are sent to reveal.

In the Confederate Army changes had also been occurring under the stress of Bragg's great defeat which culminated in the loss of Missionary Ridge on the 25th of November. Dissatisfaction with the conduct of the campaign was prevalent in both military and civil circles. Lee pointed out the embarrassment which must result to Longstreet from Bragg's misfortune, especially as the retreat of the latter had been promptly followed by Grant's occupation of Cleveland. Communication between Longstreet and Bragg was thus interrupted, and unless short work was made of Burnside, Longstreet would have to retreat into Virginia or North Carolina. [Footnote:Id., vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 779.] In the letter to President Davis which contained these suggestions, Lee added a strong hint that Beauregard was the most available officer of proper rank to succeed to the command of which Bragg asked to be relieved on the 29th. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. p. 682.] The unfortunate Bragg coupled with this request another; namely, that the causes of the defeat should be investigated. In his official report [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. ii. p. 665] he attributed it to a panic amongst the troops holding the apparently impregnable heights of Missionary Ridge, and he characterized the conduct as shameful. "The position was one," he said, "which ought to have been held by a line of skirmishers against any assaulting column." He declared that our troops reached the crest so exhausted by climbing as to be powerless, and that "the slightest effort would have destroyed them." One who stands on that ridge and looks down into the valley can easily agree with this opinion, and believe that no commander would order his troops to attack the position in front. The impulse of Wood's and Sheridan's divisions to attack, and the feebleness of the resistance of the astonished Confederates, are both phenomenal, and in a superstitious age would certainly have been attributed to supernatural influences.

The truth, however, seems to be that the confidence of the Confederate Army in its leader had declined so far that it lost hope when opposed to the prestige of the conqueror of Vicksburg, and was morally prepared for disaster. Mr. Davis's prompt acceptance of Bragg's retirement can only be understood in this way, for the general was with good reason reckoned a favorite with the Confederate President. Except for this loss of prestige he would have been answered as Lee was when he made a similar suggestion after Gettysburg,-that confidence was undiminished, and that neither the army nor the people wished for a change.

Bragg was directed to turn over the command to Lieutenant-General William J. Hardee, next in rank, and the evidence indicates that Hardee could have retained it, had he been willing. But, surpassed by none in ability and soldierly quality in command of a corps, he shrunk from the burden of chief responsibility for a campaign, and declined the permanent appointment. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 764.] Mr. Davis seems to have taken no notice of Lee's suggestion of Beauregard, but asked whether Lee himself could not, even temporarily, go to the West and by a vigorous campaign restore the prestige of the Army of Tennessee. Lee calmly presented the objections to this, from the point of view of the army of northern Virginia as well as that of the western army; though he submitted fully to the decision the President might reach after further consideration. [Footnote: Id., pp. 785, 792.] Mr. Davis was convinced that it would be unwise to transfer Lee, but he did not take kindly to the idea of appointing Beauregard. The estrangement between them which began in the first campaign in Virginia had not been removed, but had rather been intensified by the fact that Beauregard had, as he thought, failed in the command of the army after A. S. Johnston fell at Shiloh, and now seemed to have a party of friends and supporters in the Confederate Congress who were looked upon as an organized opposition to his administration. [Footnote: For some indications of this, see Beauregard's letters to Pierre Soulé and to W. Porcher Miles, Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. pp. 812, 843. Davis's Rise and Fall of the Southern Confederacy, vol. ii. p. 69.]

Whilst the subject was under consideration, General Polk, who was a warm friend both of President Davis and of General Johnston, wrote to Mr. Davis a strong letter urging Johnston's appointment. He advocated it on the double ground of the wish of the army and of the country. He did not ignore the fact that the personal friendship once existing between Davis and Johnston had been broken, but appealed to the sense of public duty to yield to a general desire, and to motives of magnanimity to overlook personal differences. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 796.]

Beauregard and Johnston were in fact the only ones, out of the five officers of the full rank of general, who were available to take Bragg's place; for the Confederate grades were much less flexible than ours, where any major-general by assignment of the President acquired the legal right to command an army, and a superiority over him who had just laid down the power. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 835.] Mr. Davis felt the embarrassment keenly, but finally decided to appoint Johnston. On the 16th of December the latter was ordered to turn over the command of the Army of the Mississippi to Lieutenant-General Polk, and proceed to Dalton to assume command of the Army of Tennessee. [Footnote: General W. W. Mackall, who had been chief of staff to Johnston and Bragg in turn, wrote to Johnston on December 9th: "I never did believe that Mr. D. would give you your place as long as he can help it; but he can't." The letter has other piquant passages. Id., p. 801.]

The result of conferences with Lee, and correspondence with Longstreet and others, had been the conviction on the part of the Confederate President that the only promising military policy in the West was for the Army of Tennessee to take early aggressive action, turning Chattanooga by the east, getting between Thomas and Schofield by the occupation of Cleveland, and, if both the National commanders kept within their fortifications, move boldly over the Cumberland Mountains by way of the gaps near Kingston. As part of this plan Longstreet should advance close to Knoxville, and join Johnston either by turning Knoxville on the east before Johnston passed far beyond Cleveland, or by the west if Johnston had got to Kingston.

This indication of the wishes of the Richmond Government was gradually developed. The earliest suggestions were of the necessity for a prompt renewal of the aggressive. Mr. Seddon, Secretary of War, in the letter informing Johnston of his transfer (December 18th), had said it was hoped that he would assume the offensive as soon as the condition of the army would allow it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxi. pt. iii. p. 843.] A few days later (December 23d) Mr. Davis himself wrote, quoting General Bragg as to the good effect a prompt resumption of the initiative would have on the morale of the army, and General Hardee as to the fit condition of the troops for action. [Footnote: Id., p. 856.] To this he added that an "imperative demand for prompt and vigorous action arises, not only from the importance of restoring the prestige of the army, and averting the dispiriting and injurious results that must attend a season of inactivity, but from the necessity of reoccupying the country upon the supplies of which the proper subsistence of our armies materially depends."

Johnston's reply (January 2d) was a presentation of the difficulties in the way of action. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxii. pt ii. p. 510.] He said that Bragg and Hardee had made the considerable reinforcement of the army a precedent condition of resuming the offensive. His conclusion was that without large reinforcements there was "no other mode of taking the offensive here than to beat the enemy when he advances and then move forward." A fortnight later he said: "My recent telegrams to you have shown, not only that we cannot hope soon to assume the offensive from this position, but that we are in danger of being forced back from it by the want of food and forage, especially the latter." [Footnote: Id., p. 559.] The shortness of forage he attributed to bad management of the Georgia Railroad, owned by the State. Supposing this were remedied (as a little later he said it was), he compared the advantages of two routes of advance into Middle Tennessee,--one by Rome, Gunterville, and Huntsville, the other by East Tennessee through the Cumberland Mountains. He pronounced in favor of the former, which would turn the mountains by the south and save the task of surmounting them. If, whilst this was going on, the National army should push for Atlanta, two or three thousand cavalry could, he thought, prevent it from reaching that place in less than a month. Large reinforcements were, however, essential for any aggressive movement. He was willing to try the East Tennessee route and unite with Longstreet, if he were satisfied that the country could furnish the provisions and forage for the march. To both of these routes, he preferred one which should make a base still farther west, in northern Mississippi.

At the beginning of February he reviewed the situation as he then believed it to be, and concluded that it was impracticable to assume the offensive from northern Georgia. He advised the collection of as large an army as possible in northern Mississippi, with a bridge equipage for the passage of the Tennessee. This army, he thought, should be larger than his and Folk's united. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 644.]

Sherman's Meridian expedition now interrupted the discussion of plans for a month, except that Mr. Davis suggested a movement of Johnston's army to strike Sherman's column in co-operation with General Polk. [Footnote: Id., p. 729.] Assuming that Sherman was aiming at Mobile, Johnston declared it impossible to strike him before he should establish a new base. Hardee's corps was, however, put in motion to reinforce Polk. [Footnote: Id., p. 769.] Beauregard was ordered to send ten thousand men from his department on the southern seacoast to Johnston, if possible, but he reported that it was not practicable. [Footnote: Id., p. 772.]

It must be said that making the correspondence a personal one on the part of Mr. Davis, instead of carrying it on through the War Department, was a waiving of etiquette, and thus it was also a step toward a cordial and frank understanding. It must equally be noted that General Johnston's tone remained that of cold formality, and his letters do not show the hearty readiness to bend his views to meet those of the President which is always apparent (for instance) in the letters of General Lee. The situation was not one in which a general may say, "I need certain supplies, equipment, transportation or pontoon bridges, and must have them before I can move." The Confederate cause was unquestionably in great straits, and calling for men and means was a good deal like Glendower's call, "Will they come?" Every commanding officer was expected to act with what he had or could get, were it much or little. Very warm friends of Johnston saw that his attitude was one likely to increase estrangement. General Polk, the mutual friend who had probably thrown the casting influence which gave Johnston the command, wrote to him through a confidential intimate of both (Colonel Harvie, Johnston's inspector-general), suggesting that he take private steps toward a reconciliation with Mr. Davis. He urged the general, as he had urged the President, that private feeling and personal pride should be sacrificed to the cause in which both were engaged. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 593.] The appeal seems to have failed, and cold formality continued to be the tone of Johnston's communications with the government. About the first of March Mr. Davis dropped the correspondence, turning it over to General Bragg, now his chief of staff.

Johnston had written to Bragg (February 27th) that the President's letters had given him the impression that a forward movement was intended in the spring; but if this were so, much preparation would be necessary, and large reinforcements and equipment. [Footnote: Id., p. 808.] He assumed that Longstreet was to unite with him, if the President's plan had not changed. This treatment of the matter as problematic and intended only as a plan for the spring, must be admitted to be somewhat exasperating to Mr. Davis, as the pressure from Richmond since the 18th of December had been for immediate aggressive action, and had been so emphatically put that to speak of it as creating only "an impression" sounded very like a sneer, and was unfortunate if not so intended.

Bragg answered in good temper, and after disposing of the matters of business, he added: "The enemy is not prepared for us, and if we can strike him a blow before he recovers, success is almost certain. The plan which is proposed has long been my favorite, and I trust our efforts may give you the means to accomplish what I have ardently desired but never had the ability to undertake. Communicate your wants to me freely and I will do all I can to give you strength and efficiency. We must necessarily encounter privations and hardships, and run some risk; but the end will justify the means." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 592.]

This, of course, implied prompt action whilst Grant's forces remained scattered and were still suffering from the dearth of supplies which had so nearly approached starvation and nakedness. Schofield's forces were at Knoxville, over a hundred miles northeast of Chattanooga. Part of Sherman's were on the Meridian expedition or now returning to Vicksburg on the Mississippi. Another part, under Logan, were about Huntsville, as far to the southwest as Schofield was to the northeast. In this condition of things a quick blow at Thomas would find him isolated. He could be turned by the north before Schofield could join him if he stayed in his fortifications, and he could be fought on equal terms in the field if he came out of his lines. This made the southern opportunity. To wait for spring was to wait for Grant and Sherman to concentrate the now scattered armies, to have them clothed and fed, and to have the horses and mules ready for a campaign. It is no wonder the government at Richmond thought it worth while to "encounter privations and hardships and to run some risk."

Lee had been in Richmond and was in accord with this plan. He wrote to Longstreet on the day after the date of Bragg's letter just quoted, urging him to drop all other schemes and to unite in influencing Johnston to adopt it. "If you and Johnston could unite and move into Middle Tennessee," he said, "it would cut the armies of Chattanooga and Knoxville in two and draw them from those points, where either portion could be struck at as opportunity offered.... By covering your fronts well with your cavalry, Johnston could move quietly and rapidly through Benton, cross the Hiwassee, and then push forward in the direction of Kingston, while you, taking such a route as to be safe from a flank attack, would join him at or after his crossing the Tennessee River. The two commands, upon reaching Sparta, would be in position to select their future course; would necessitate the evacuation of Chattanooga and Knoxville, and by rapidity and skill unite on either army." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 594.]

There were no doubt difficulties in the way--when are there not? But we who were in Grant's command are glad that we were not called upon to meet the enemy under this plan of campaign vigorously executed. We did not lack faith that we could defeat it, but we were much better pleased to have the enemy await the completion of our own preparation and allow us to take the initiative. It cannot be denied that it was based on sound strategy. With his usual considerateness, Lee said that Johnston and Longstreet on the ground should be better able to judge the plan and to decide; but he urged it with much more earnestness than was common in his letters. That Johnston rejected it must be admitted to be very strong evidence that he lacked enterprise. His abilities are undoubted, and when once committed to an offensive campaign, he conducted it with vigor and skill. The bent of his mind, however, was plainly in favor of the course which he steadily urged,--to await his adversary's advance, and watch for errors which would give him a manifest opportunity to ruin him.

Longstreet had written to Johnston on the 5th of March that Mr. Davis had directed a conference between them on the practicability of uniting their armies between Knoxville and Chattanooga, with a view to the movement into Middle Tennessee. Longstreet thinks he can make his part of the movement, but must leave the question of supplies to Johnston after they unite. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxiii. pt. ii. p. 587.] Lieutenant-General John B. Hood, who had been assigned to a corps in Johnston's army, wrote to Mr. Davis on the 7th that the army was well clothed, well fed, with abundant transportation, in high spirits, anxious for battle, and needing only a few artillery horses. A junction with Longstreet's army he thought would make it strong enough to take the initiative, and he strongly supported the plan of moving before Grant could concentrate. [Footnote:Id., p. 606.]

Johnston wrote to Bragg on the 12th that no particular plan of campaign had been communicated to him. [Footnote: Id., p. 613.] He does not appear to have telegraphed a brief inquiry on this subject, but wrote at some length in regard to his requirements before he could be in condition to take the field. He referred to his first opinion in favor of a defensive campaign as unchanged. The ordinary course of mail seems to have required about a week for a letter to reach Richmond. It happened that on the same day Bragg at Richmond was writing to Johnston outlining the plan of campaign mentioned above, adding that it was intended to throw a heavy column of cavalry into West Tennessee as a diversion, and that if by rapid movement Johnston could capture Nashville, Grant would be in a precarious position. The President, on assurance of the immediate execution of the plan, would order to him 5000 men from General Polk, 10,000 from Beauregard, and Longstreet's command estimated at 16,000, but which was really nearer 20,000. Putting these reinforcements and Johnston's own army at lowest figures, his column would amount to 75,000 men. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 614.]

After posting his letter of the 12th, Johnston went on an inspection tour to Atlanta, and there on the 13th he received and answered Longstreet's letter of the 5th. He pronounced impracticable the plan submitted to them, and reiterated his fixed opinion that it was best to wait for Grant's advance. In any event, he thought a forward movement should "wait for the grass of May." [Footnote:Id., p. 618.] He argued that it was better to let the enemy's forces advance, and fight them far from their base and near his own. Bragg, on the other hand, had urged the recovery of the populous region of Middle Tennessee as necessary both for obtaining army subsistence and forage, and for the recruitment of the ranks. Both these resources he estimated very highly, and as Tennessee was still claimed as a seceding State, the Confederate conscription laws would be enforced there. On the other hand, every movement in retreat cut off a part of their area for supplies and men, was discouraging to the army, and was followed by numerous desertions of soldiers whose families were within our lines.

In answering Longstreet, Johnston had said that he would execute zealously any plan the President would order; but he evidently insisted on definite and formal commands if he were to depart from his preconceived views to which he held tenaciously. On the 16th of March he wrote again, this time in answer to Bragg's of the 7th. After telling of the impossibility of collecting artillery horses in northern Georgia, he mentions Longstreet's letter to him, to say that he thinks the point of junction suggested is too near the enemy, and that his army should have an accumulation of eighteen or twenty days' supplies before entering upon such a movement. They must also have ordnance stores for a campaign, and wagon trains to carry it all. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 636.] Two days later he received Bragg's full letter of the 12th sent by the hand of Colonel Sale as special messenger, and he now answers by telegraph. He says that Grant is back at Nashville, and is not likely to stand on the defensive. To meet at Dalton his expected advance, the reinforcements that had been spoken of must be sent at once. "Give us those troops," he says; "and if we beat him we follow. Should he not advance, we will thus be ready for the offensive. The troops can be fed as easily here as where they now are." [Footnote: Id., p. 649.] Next day he elaborated the same ideas in a letter, adding the suggestion before made by him that the line of advance by way of North Alabama was a preferable one to the route through East Tennessee.

The telegram was answered from Richmond whilst the longer letter was on its way. The answer conveyed the information that Grant would not personally lead the western army, but would turn over its command to Sherman. It also briefly noted the fact that Johnston had not accepted the aggressive policy on which the large reinforcements were made conditional. [Footnote: I do not find this dispatch in the Official Records. It is given in Johnston's "Narrative of Military Operations," p. 298.] He replied that his dispatch expressly accepted taking the offensive, and the only difference was as to details. He therefore repeats the urgent request that the troops be sent at once. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 666.]

It is not easy to accept his interpretation of his former dispatch. Waiting indefinitely to see whether the National army would advance, and declaring the administration plan impracticable, hardly looks like assuming the initiative. It was not a difference as to details. The very gist of the subject under discussion was a prompt advance against the parts of our army before they could be united for any purpose. The question would naturally arise, What might happen in the places from which troops were drawn, if they were not used by Johnston immediately? The latter had already said to Longstreet that his requisitions on the commissaries and quartermaster's departments for supplies and wagon-trains were so large as to make filling them "a greater undertaking than anything yet accomplished by those departments, and if they succeed, it will not be very soon." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 618.] Yet these were only part of the conditions which he considered essential to any advance.

There seems to have been no rejoinder to Johnston's last telegram, and the subject was dropped. Longstreet was persuaded by his correspondence with Johnston that the combined movement could not be made, and turned to the scheme (already mentioned), of mounting his troops and making an expedition from southwestern Virginia into Kentucky. This was decisively rejected by the Richmond government. [Footnote: Id., p. 748.] Grant was now known to be in Virginia, inspecting the commands there and preparing for an active campaign. Concentration on both sides, and not further morselling of armies was to be the wholesome order of the day, and Longstreet was soon ordered to report to Lee. Between Bragg and Johnston correspondence was limited to the current business of the army, and general plans of campaign were not again mentioned. In April, Johnston became uneasy at the silence which indicated that the President regarded it unprofitable to discuss plans with him, and sent Colonel B. S. Ewell of his staff to Richmond to make explanations in person. He was politely received, and his visit no doubt tended to relax a little the strain in the relations between Mr. Davis and Ewell's chief; but it was too late to accomplish what had been hoped for in January. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. iii. pp. 839, 842.] Spring had come, and Sherman's concentration was in progress; indeed it was almost completed. Ewell reported to Johnston again on the 29th of April. On the 1st of May Schofield was at the Hiwassee River in touch with the left wing of Thomas's army, whilst McPherson was closing in on the right.

The certainty that Grant was in Virginia had brought the Confederate government to the conclusion that Lee must be reinforced by Longstreet and by whatever troops Beauregard could spare. The Atlantic coast States were thus to supply Lee with men and means. About four thousand men were to be immediately added to Johnston's army, mostly drawn from Mobile. Polk's infantry would be sent to him also, if, as was nearly certain, Sherman's advance on Atlanta should prove to be our great effort in the West. [Footnote: Id., p. 841.] The doubt whether one of our columns might not move through Alabama made it necessary to continue to the last moment ready for either event. The Gulf States would then become the feeders of Johnston's army in the campaign.

The very unsatisfactory relations between Mr. Davis and General Johnston cannot be overlooked if we would judge intelligently the events of the Atlanta campaign. It may be that the general was right in thinking a winter advance impracticable, though Lee's concurrence in the President's plan is no small argument in its favor. It is, nevertheless, the indisputable province of a government to determine, in view of the whole situation, political and military, whether continued operations are necessary. The army is organized for the sole purpose of reaching the ends at which its government aims in the war. The expenditure of life and treasure should be stopped and the government should sue for peace, unless its armies can be relied upon to act in hearty subordination to its view of the existing exigencies. The general should meet it with absolute ingenuousness and the promptest and clearest decision. He should act at once or ask to be relieved in time to let another carry out the plan. Mr. Davis, like Mr. Lincoln on several occasions, had reason to feel that a prolonged discussion had in fact thwarted him, and that he had not the cordial service he might fairly expect.

One of the results of the financial embarrassments of the Confederacy was the great and growing depreciation of its paper currency. Its officers in the field found their pay a merely nominal pittance, and those who had no independent fortune were reduced to the greatest straits. Interesting evidence of this has been preserved in petitions forwarded to the War Department in February, asking that rations might be issued to them as to the private soldiers. The scale of prices attached to their petition was that at which the government sold the enumerated articles to its officers, and was supposed to show the average cost and not a market price fixed by the retail trade. They paid for bacon $2.20 per pound, for beef 75 cents, for lard $2.20, for molasses $6 per gallon, for sugar $1.50 per pound, for a coat $350, for a pair of boots $250, for a pair of pantaloons $125, for a hat from $80 to $125, for a shirt $50, for a pair of socks $10. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. p. 658.] Their statements were verified and approved by their superiors, and General Johnston, in forwarding the petitions, said that at existing prices the pay of company officers was worth less than that of the private soldiers. [Footnote: Id., p. 661.]



CHAPTER XXXVI

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: DALTON AND RESACA

The opposing forces--North Georgia triangle--Topography--Dalton--Army of the Ohio enters Georgia--Positions of the other armies--Turning Tunnel Hill--First meeting with Sherman--Thomas--Sherman's plan as to Dalton--McPherson's orders and movement--Those of Thomas and Schofield--Hopes of a decisive engagement--Thomas attacks north end of Rocky Face--Opdycke on the ridge--Developing Johnston's lines--Schofield's advance on 9th May--The flanking march through Snake Creek Gap--Retiring movement of my division--Passing lines--Johnston's view of the situation--Use of temporary intrenchments and barricades--Passing the Snake Creek defile--Camp Creek line--A wheel in line--Rough march of left flank--Battle of Resaca--Crossing Camp Creek--Storming Confederate line--My division relieved by Newton's--Incidents--Further advance of left flank--Progress of right flank--Johnston retreats.

The history of the campaigns of 1864-1865 under Sherman have been given in another form, and I need not repeat the narrative of the connected movements of his forces. [Footnote: See "Atlanta," and "The March to the Sea, Franklin and Nashville."] I shall confine myself to the more personal view of events as they came under my own eye, and to such additional knowledge as the publication of the Records has brought within our reach.

Nashville and Chattanooga, being large depots of supply, were fortified and furnished with garrisons. A few other points had also to be garrisoned in some force, besides the numerous small posts and blockhouses. But after all deductions, Sherman still expected to take the field with an army of a hundred thousand men of all arms, and this was what he did. His returns for the 30th of April show his strength to have been 93,131 infantry, 12,455 cavalry, and 4537 artillery. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. i. p. 115.] His cavalry were not all at the front, and fell short of the nominal strength. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. pp. 23, 24; Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 26.]

General Johnston's similar returns for the end of April show his army actually present at Dalton to have consisted of 54,500 infantry, cavalry, and artillery, not including part of a brigade at Resaca and some detachments en route. [Footnote:Id., vol. xxxii. pt. iii. p. 866.] General Polk was on his way to join with 14,000 men, [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 670, 737, 740.] and these with about 5000 increase of Hardee's and Hood's corps reached Johnston before he was seriously engaged with Sherman, giving him an army of 75,000 men. [Footnote: For a careful analysis of these forces, see "Century War Book," vol. iv. p. 281, a statistical paper by Major E. C. Dawes; also "Atlanta," Appendix A. For the meaning of "effective total" in Confederate returns, see ante, p. 482.] The Richmond government only delayed ordering Polk to join Johnston until it was certain that Sherman intended to operate with a single army upon the Atlanta line, and Polk went even beyond what they seemed to expect of him in carrying the troops of his department to the army at Dalton.

Although he was not aware of the urgency of the Confederate government with Johnston to induce him to take the initiative and operate by turning our left flank, Sherman had considered the possibility of this. The Fourth Corps had been concentrated at Cleveland on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railway about a dozen miles north of the Georgia state line and thirty-five miles from Dalton. The line of this railway was the easy road out of northern Georgia into Tennessee, and pretty closely followed the old Federal road. Had Johnston marched northward, he must have taken this route, and would have found his way barred by the Fourth Corps, which was strong enough to retard his advance till Sherman could have concentrated to meet him. The railways made a nearly equilateral triangle of the country between Cleveland, Chattanooga, and Dalton. It was thirty-eight miles from Chattanooga to Dalton, and twenty-seven to Cleveland. The east side of the triangle was near the Cooyehuttee Creek, a stream heading quite close to Cleveland and uniting, below Dalton, with the Connasauga. This valley is narrow west of the river, and is, much of the way, separated by a high and sharp ridge from the very broken country, which makes up the greater part of the triangle, where the branches of the Chickamauga run northward in parallel valleys till they unite near Chattanooga, and empty into the Tennessee. For nearly forty miles, therefore, the waters on the east side of the dividing ridge run southward to the Gulf of Mexico, whilst on the west side they run northward to the Ohio.

Going south from Chattanooga, the railroad and the wagon roads have to thread their way from one valley to another, the latter climbing painfully the high ridges intervening, the former taking shorter cuts by deep excavations and tunnels. Within sight of Chattanooga the north end of Missionary Ridge is pierced for the railway where Grant's left wing fought in the battle which closed General Bragg's career as a commander in the field. Some twenty miles further on, another ridge is tunnelled where the railroad passes from the Chickamauga valley into that of Mill Creek, a small tributary of the Cooyehuttee, flowing eastward into that river in front of Dalton. Here, at Tunnel Hill, had been Johnston's advanced post during the winter, and Thomas's had been above Ringgold on the top of Taylor's ridge facing it on the west. But as Tunnel Hill did not extend many miles northward, and could be turned in that direction, the Confederates had made Dalton their intrenched camp, and were prepared to retire from Tunnel Hill whenever Sherman should advance in force.

Map

The position at Dalton was an impregnable one to an attack in front on the Chattanooga road. Mill Creek breaks through the Chattanooga Mountains (here known by the local name of Rocky Face), by a crooked gorge flanked by precipitous cliffs called the Buzzards Roost. The west side of Rocky Face is a nearly perpendicular wall, and in the Mill Creek gorge, spurs from the sides so project as to enfilade the entrance like bastions. A little north of the gorge a larger spur from the ridge runs down to the east, connecting with a subordinate parallel ridge, and from the lower slope a line of heavy earthworks continued the defences toward the Cooyehuttee. Mill Creek had been dammed so as to make an inundation in the gorge, and the Confederates held the ridge and cliffs on both sides as well as the fortified line in the lower ground. Some three miles north of Mill Creek Gap, Rocky Face and Tunnel Hill break down into smaller disconnected hills, and here about Catoosa Springs a bit of more open country made a practicable connection between the centre of the Union Army at Ringgold and its left wing advancing from Cleveland. Johnston hoped that Sherman would dash himself against the walls of Rocky Face and suffer severe loss in doing so; and if the ridge was turned on the north by part of the Union Army, this wing would find itself in presence of the strong earthworks skirting Mill Creek, and would be so separated from the centre that he could reasonably hope to crush it. Sherman, of course, could know little of the Confederate position till he was near enough to reconnoitre it, and must find out by experiment how the nut was to be cracked.

On Thursday, the 5th of May, the Army of the Ohio under General Schofield was at Red Clay, a hamlet just south of the Georgia state line. My own division (the third) was encamped a mile in advance, at some springs which furnished a good supply of water. General Judah's division (the second) was at Red Clay. General Hovey's division (the first) was still at Blue Springs, Tennessee, covering the army trains and the repairs of the railway. The cavalry covered the left flank and reconnoitred forward toward Varnell's Station, skirmishing with the enemy's horse. The valley was a narrow one, tributary to the principal valley of the Connasauga, and, near my camp, was filled with a dense thicket of loblolly pine, a second growth which came up in the exhausted light soil of abandoned fields, and which we were to become very familiar with as we advanced into Georgia. As we could not see out in any direction except that of the road, I covered my front with a slashing of the trees by way of a rough abatis to prevent a surprise. We were now the left flank of the grand army.

When we passed Cleveland, the Fourth Corps took up its line of march, bearing away to the westward of ours and went into position at Catoosa Springs, about eight miles southwest of Red Clay, with a ridge intervening. Here General Howard became the left of the Army of the Cumberland, having Palmer's Corps (the Fourteenth), next beyond him facing Tunnel Hill, and Hooker's (the Twentieth) still farther to the southwest, marching by way of Woods Station over Taylor's Ridge upon Trickum in the upper valley of the East Chickamauga. Thomas's army was the heavy centre of the grand army, and his infantry was about two-thirds of the whole. This great preponderance of one organization was faulty in a purely military point of view, but Grant and Sherman both felt that it would not be wise to disturb the esprit de corps of the Cumberland Army by subdividing it, or to offend Thomas by diminishing it, and, anyhow, no such change could have been made without the concurrence of the President.

General McPherson's Army of the Tennessee was to constitute Sherman's right, but was a little delayed in its concentration. At this time it contained only Logan's Corps (the Fifteenth) and the left wing of the Sixteenth (Brigadier-General G. M. Dodge in command). It was moving behind the Army of the Cumberland, to Lee and Gordon's Mills, and thence upon Villanow. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 39.] General Kenner Garrard's strong division of cavalry accompanied McPherson's movement.

Sherman was anxious to allow the enemy as little time for preparation as might be, yet, as he had to give McPherson a day or two to come into line, he set Saturday the 7th of May as the time for the more complete concentration, and an attack upon Tunnel Hill if Johnston should continue to hold it. [Footnote:Id., p. 38.] Accordingly, on Saturday morning all the columns were in motion. Palmer advanced against the ridge of Tunnel Hill in front, and Howard coming from the north turned the flank of the ridge. The hill was held by the Confederate cavalry under Wheeler, supported by Stewart's division of infantry, who were ordered to resist our advance with stubbornness enough to force the display of Thomas's forces. [Footnote: Id., p. 672.] A lively skirmishing fight was kept up till Howard's men advanced toward the flank and rear of the position, when the enemy retreated within Mill Creek Gap. Wheeler was ordered to let a brigade of cavalry retire up the valley of Mill Creek, outside of Rocky Face, and to cover Dug Gap, through which runs the road from Villanow to Dalton. [Footnote: Ibid.]

My division marched from its camp in front of Red Clay over the ridge by Ellidge's Mill to Dr. Lee's on the main road from Varnell's Station to Ringgold, and near the northern end of Tunnel Hill ridge. Here we came into close connection with the Fourth Corps. The rest of the Army of the Ohio followed, the rear-guard holding a gap looking eastward above Ellidge's Mill, and the cavalry covering the front and flank to Varnell's Station. [Footnote:Id., pp. 48, 54.] Our supply station was moved over to Ringgold on the Chattanooga line, and the railroad at Red Clay was soon abandoned. In the movement all the division commanders were ordered to report to me in the absence of General Schofield.

At Dr. Lee's I met Sherman and Thomas for the first time. They had come over from Ringgold to reconnoitre for themselves and observe the effect of Howard's movement turning Tunnel Hill. The house stood upon a knoll looking southward over farm fields and rolling country to the sharp end of Rocky Face, and when my column halted near by, I rode forward with General Schofield to meet the army commander. It was a bright May morning, and a picturesque group was gathered on the sloping lawn in front of the house. The principal officers were dismounted, their horses and escort in the background. An occasional puff of white smoke on the slope of Tunnel Hill in the distance marked the attack going on there, but it was too far away for the cannonade to be more than a muffled sound, not interrupting the conversation. Sherman was tall, lithe, and active, with light brown hair, close-cropped sandy beard and moustache, and every motion and expression indicated eagerness and energy. His head was apt to be bent a little forward as if in earnest outlook or aggressive advance, and his rapid incisive utterance hit off the topics of discussion in a sharp and telling way. His opinions usually took a strong and very pronounced form, full of the feeling that was for the moment uppermost, not hesitating at even a little humorous extravagance if it added point to his statement; but in such cases the keen eye took a merry twinkle accentuated by the crow-foot lines in the corner, so that the real geniality and kindliness that underlay the brusque exterior were sufficiently apparent. The general effect was of a nature of intense, restless activity, both physical and mental. In conversation he poured out a wealth of original and striking ideas, from a full experience, observation, and reading; his assertions would be strong and confident, highly colored by the glow of momentary feeling, unsoftened by the modifications and exceptions which have to tame down broad generalizations before they are put in practice. One did not know him long before discovering that in responsible action he did not lack the prudence which took all probable contingencies into account. His practical work in the field was never reckless, but his boldest outlines of plan were worked out with thoughtful caution in detail and full provision for possible disappointment. When discussing a situation with his familiars, after strongly stating his own view he would add, "Now what is Joe Johnston's game?" and he would analyze his adversary's possible moves with a candor and insight that left no doubt of his full comprehension of the problem before him. In carrying out a plan he was free from the common weakness of giving increased weight to doubts when the conflict is joined, and making a timid execution of a strong purpose; he knew when it was time for debate to stop (even with his own thoughts), and to bend every energy to decisive action. All this was, of course, not visible in the first meeting at Dr. Lee's, but no one could doubt that here was a most original and interesting character, and I soon acquired an undoubting conviction that of all the men I had met, he was the one to whose leadership in war I would commit my own life and the lives of my men with most complete confidence. In him the combination of intellectual insight with fertility of invention and with force of will in execution was of the highest order. I felt that if the end we aimed at was a noble and worthy one, the price he asked us to pay was reasonable, and the object was worth the sacrifices he called for: we were therefore enthusiastic in our obedience.

General Thomas was in person and manner a strong contrast to Sherman. Equally tall, he was large and solidly stout, with an air of dignified quiet and deliberation. His full beard was not of so stubbly a cut as Sherman's, his countenance was almost impassive, and the lines of his brow gave an air of sternness. His part in the conversation was less, his words much fewer and less expressive, but always clear and intelligent. His manner was kindly, but rather reserved, and one felt that his acquaintance must be gradually cultivated. His reputation for cool intrepidity and stubborn tenacity could not be excelled, and no soldier could approach him without a deep interest and respect that was not diminished by his natural modesty of demeanor. Better acquaintance with him made one learn that his intellect was strong and broad, and his mind had been expanded by general reading, with some special scientific tastes beyond his military profession. He was a noble model of patriotic devotion to country, and of the private virtues that make a great citizen. His military career had been an important one from the beginning of the war. Second in rank in the armies of Buell and Rosecrans in 1862 and 1863, at the great battles of Stone's River and Chickamauga he had held his wing of the army defiant and invincible when other parts were swept back by the Confederate impetuosity. No sobriquet conferred by an admiring soldiery was more characteristic than the "Rock of Chickamauga." Between him and Sherman the old affection of schoolmates at the Military Academy was still warm. Sherman still called him "Tom," the nickname of cadet days, and Thomas evidently enjoyed, in his quiet way, the vivacious talk and brilliant ideas of his old friend, now his commander. His army so much outnumbered the organizations of McPherson and Schofield that, as a massive centre, it was necessarily the chief reliance of Sherman for the results of the campaign, and was personified in its leader's weight and deliberation; while the lighter organizations of the Tennessee and the Ohio were thrown from flank to flank in zigzag movements from one strategic position to another as we penetrated into Georgia.

Grant's plan of having the armies of the East and West begin simultaneous movements on the first days of May had been responded to by Sherman with the information that on the first of the month his three armies were in mutual support, and that he would "draw the enemy's fire within twenty-four hours of May 5th." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 1.] The delay in McPherson's reaching his position, slight as it was, had to be considered in ordering other movements in view of the promise to Grant to get into immediate contact with the enemy, and helped in the decision to let Thomas's army advance strongly in the centre and engage the enemy if the chance seemed at all favorable, while McPherson made the flanking movement by way of Snake Creek Gap. On the 4th Sherman had telegraphed Grant that he would "first secure the Tunnel Hill, then throw McPherson rapidly on his (the enemy's) communications, attacking at the same time cautiously and in force." [Footnote: Id., p. 25.]

McPherson's orders went to him on the evening of the 5th, directing that whilst the movements of Thomas and Schofield already described were in progress, on Saturday the 7th he should "secure Snake Creek Gap, and from it make a bold attack on the enemy's flank or his railroad at any point between Tilton and Resaca." [Footnote:Id., p. 39.] Sherman expressed the hope that Johnston would fight at Dalton, but should he fall back along the railroad McPherson was to hit him in flank. "Do not fail, in that event," he continued, "to make the most of the opportunity by the most vigorous attack possible, as it may save us what we have most reason to apprehend, a slow pursuit, in which he gains strength as we lose it." McPherson was assured that Thomas and Schofield would prevent Johnston from turning on him alone, and the sound of battle at the north would show the greater necessity for rapid movement on the railroad. "If once broken to an extent that would take them days to repair, you can withdraw to Snake Creek Gap, and come to us or await the development according to your judgment or information you may receive." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 39.]

Sherman's orders to Thomas were to take Tunnel Hill, and threaten Dalton in front, but not to attack its defences "unless the enemy assume the offensive against either of our wings, when all must attack directly in front toward the enemy's main army, and not without orders detach to the relief of the threatened wing." [Footnote:Id., p. 40.] With similar orders to Schofield, Sherman added: "As soon as Tunnel Hill is secured to us, I shall pause to give McPherson time for his long march; but we must occupy the attention of all the enemy, lest he turn his whole force on McPherson, which must be prevented. Therefore, on the sound of heavy battle always close up on Howard and act according to circumstances. We will not be able to detach to McPherson's assistance, but can press so closely from this direction that he (Johnston) cannot detach but a part of his command against him." [Footnote: Id., p. 38.]

These lucid orders show that Sherman was not contemplating merely a flanking movement to make Johnston retreat and yield territory; on the other hand he strongly expressed the desirability of forcing conclusions as near his own base as possible, and showed his apprehension of the disadvantages which must come from stretching still further his long line of communications. The same desire and the same apprehension were constant with him throughout the campaign, and it was with an unwillingness growing at times into impatience that he found himself compelled to follow Johnston's slow and skilful retreat. It was not till the change of the Confederate commanders that aggressive tactics on the part of the enemy gave the opportunity for severe punishment and led to the speedy destruction of the hostile army. Herein lies the key of the whole campaign.

The possession of Tunnel Hill enabled Sherman to look into Mill Creek Gap, the break in Rocky Face, and the first look was enough to show how desperate would be an attack either upon the precipitous cliffs or into the fortified gorge. His orders for the 8th of May were for Thomas to threaten the Buzzard Roost pass and try to get a small force on Rocky Face ridge. Schofield from Dr. Lee's was to feel along the same ridge southward toward the gap and the signal station which the enemy had established above it on Buzzard Roost. It was to be a skirmishing advance, but no battle, attracting the enemy's attention whilst McPherson was seizing on Snake Creek Gap in Johnston's rear. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 56.]

On our part, Schofield ordered Judah's division to ascend the north point of Rocky Face and press along the sharp ridge southward. My own division was to occupy the passes looking toward Varnell's Station, sending a regiment to support the cavalry there. [Footnote: Id., pp. 55, 66, 85.] General Thomas, seeing no chance of getting to the top of Rocky Face from the west, had ordered the Fourth Corps to attempt it from the north, and Howard had sent in Newton's division to do this before Schofield received his orders for the day. The latter therefore put Judah's division in support of Newton's, extending the line along the east base of the ridge, and called up Hovey's division into close support. With my own division I advanced southeastwardly to hills in that direction, keeping abreast of the movement on Rocky Face. [Footnote: Id., pp. 82, 83; pt. ii. p. 675.]

Sherman had conjectured that the hill-tops would be found to be plateaus on which troops might manoeuvre to some extent, but they proved to be sharp and steep to the very summits, and composed of loose rock of every size, but all as angular as if from fresh cleavage. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 675; pt. iv. p. 84.] Harker's brigade of Newton's division had the advance, but even a brigade was too large a body for combined action, and Colonel Opdycke with his regiment (One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio) took the lead. He made a demonstration as if to turn the north point and go up the eastern side; then leaving the brigade skirmish line to continue to push there, he rapidly moved again to the west side and climbed swiftly to the ridge. Here was only room for four men to march abreast, but charging from rock to rock he succeeded in advancing about a third of a mile southward along the ridge to a breastwork of stone where the enemy, who had fought bravely for every "coign of vantage," were finally enabled to check him. He also threw together a heap of stones to cover and enable him to hold the ground he had gained. [Footnote:Id., pt. i. p. 367.]

Schofield in person had followed the advance of Judah's division, and reconnoitred along the ridge parallel to Rocky Face on the east. It was plain that there was little chance of getting near Buzzard Roost by following Harker's path along the knife-like summit, and he was disposed to let Judah try the effect of a night attack upon the fortified outpost at the enemy's signal station in front of Harker. [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. p. 83.] Sherman realized that he could not hope to carry the Dalton lines from the west and north, and that Johnston was too well satisfied with his defensive position to leave it unless some part of our army was compromised by making a false move. McPherson, however, was entering Snake Creek Gap with so little opposition as to show that the importance of that pass was not understood by Johnston, if indeed he knew of its existence. Sherman therefore determined to keep up active demonstrations with watchful observation of the enemy for another day, whilst the decisive part of McPherson's movement should go on, and was already planning to transfer Hooker's Corps to McPherson's column as soon as the latter should hold the outlet of his gap. He wrote to Schofield, "We must not let Johnston amuse us here by a small force whilst he turns on McPherson." He sometimes suspected this was being done, and had been uneasy during the day at the absence of cannonade from Johnston's lines. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 83, 84.] The orders for the 9th were that Thomas should continue to push along the crest of Rocky Face from the north and make demonstrations on other parts of his line, whilst Schofield cautiously swung his left flank out toward the east at right angles to the principal ridge and made a strong reconnoissance of the enemy's lines in the immediate front of the town. At midnight Sherman learned that Hooker had made an effort to carry Rocky Face at Dug Gap, two or three miles south of Buzzard Roost, and had failed with considerable loss to Geary's division, which was engaged.

At daybreak on the 9th, my own camp was astir. The division advanced beyond the left flank of the position of Hovey's, then swung the left forward and moved southward astride of the ridge parallel to Rocky Face on the east. Judah's division connected our movement with the left flank of the Fourth Corps across the intervening valley. Hovey's division marched in rear of my left flank as a reserve. McCook's division of cavalry covered the extreme flank at Varnell's Station, under orders to demonstrate on the direct road to Dalton as our infantry advanced. [Footnote: Id., pp. 98-100.] The enemy resisted with strong outposts and skirmish lines posted in several strong barricades of timber and stones. We drove him from these and continued the movement till we confronted the main line of intrenchments. Schofield intended to attack these as soon as Newton's division of the Fourth Corps (which was our pivot) should be able to force the position in its immediate front on the crest of Rocky Face, but Newton was obliged to report that Harker's brigade had failed in its effort, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 102.] and Schofield ordered us to stand fast where we were.

McCook had found a superior force of Confederate cavalry under Wheeler on the Dalton road; his advanced brigade under Colonel La Grange had been roughly handled, and that officer was captured. [Footnote: Id., p. 96.] General Stoneman was, however, advancing from Charleston with the cavalry of the Army of the Ohio, and the affair was of no great significance, though the Confederates claimed a considerable victory for their horse. [Footnote: Id., p. 683.]

Our movement had been an interesting one. As we went forward on the ridge, we could see Judah's line keeping pace with us in the valley and on the lower slopes of Rocky Face, whilst Newton's men continued the line to the summit, where Harker was having a sharp combat in which both artillery and small arms were brought into play. Off beyond our left was a separate rounded height, Potato Hill, on which the enemy had artillery which annoyed us, and to which our own guns answered. The space between was filled with skirmishers, horse and foot, and a rattling fusillade accompanied our march. It was evident that the lines before us were very formidable and held in force, and that the reconnoissance had been pushed as far as possible; to go further would commit us to a desperate attack upon intrenchments. [Footnote: When Johnston's retreat gave us possession of Dalton, we found the works of a very strong character, putting that front quite beyond a coup-de-main. I examined them myself later in the campaign.] But Sherman did not desire to do this. He wished to keep the enemy employed so that he could not send a great force against McPherson, and thus to give the latter a chance to make a success of the movement against Resaca. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 98.] Toward evening he directed Schofield to fall back to a strong defensive position again, as from the news he got from McPherson he was sure Johnston must either attack us or retreat on the next day, and he wished to be ready for a prompt transfer of his army to Snake Creek Gap. But Schofield thought a night movement too uncertain in that broken and tangled country, especially as he had not been pleased with the handling of Hovey's division during the day, and obtained permission to bivouac for the night where we were, sending a couple of infantry regiments to support McCook's cavalry and cover our flank. [Footnote: Id., pp. 99, 119.]

During the night Sherman learned that McPherson had not succeeded in taking Resaca or breaking the railroad, and had retired to the mouth of Snake Creek Gap. Johnston was, of course, now aware of the turning movement, and before morning we had evidence that he was changing the positions of his army to meet the new situation. Sherman immediately turned his whole energy to transferring his army to McPherson's position. Hooker's Corps leading off was followed by Palmer's, and this by ours. Howard's was ordered to remain in position covering the Chattanooga railway, and to follow Johnston directly through Dalton when he left his intrenchments. The movement could not be begun till the 11th, as Stoneman with the cavalry of the Army of the Ohio was marching from Cleveland, and another day was needed to enable him to get upon our left flank, the place assigned him in the combined advance. [Footnote: Id., pp. 112, 113, 126.] Three days' rations in haversacks and seven more in wagons gave provisions for a short separation from our base, and orders to send back all baggage to Ringgold were strictly enforced.

At daybreak of the 10th I advanced my skirmishers to reconnoitre the enemy's lines, which were found to be still held in force, and his troops on the alert. We then proceeded to wheel the whole of the corps backward in line of battle, ready to halt at any moment, and engage the enemy if he should come out and attack us. My division being on the flank, it was to regulate the movement, Judah's conforming to mine on the right, and Hovey's in reserve immediately in rear of mine. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 123, 131.] We were under a warm skirmish fire of infantry in front, and the enemy's cavalry on our left flank also followed up the movement sharply. Reinforcing the skirmish line till the enemy was driven back, a good position in rear was selected for my second line and it was made to lie down. My first line was then marched slowly to the rear over the other, to another position, where it halted and lay down in turn, whilst the other rose and marched to the rear in a similar manner. Making the troops lie down avoided the danger, incident to such a manoeuvre under fire, that the men in second line would be confused by the passing of the first line through their ranks and break their organization. [Footnote: Officers experienced in war know that manoeuvres which are easy and of fine effect on parade are difficult and even dangerous under fire, and that it is wise to simplify the tactics as much as possible. Marshal Saint-Cyr, whose reputation for tactical skill was second to none in the wars of the French Republic and Empire, thus speaks of the matter in his comments on the battle of Novi, apropos to the break of the French division Watrin, which was in two brigade lines: "La première, attaquée avec vigueur par le général Lusignan appuyé par Laudon, ne soutint qu'un moment le choc, et se rabattit sur la seconde; elle espérait se reformer en arrière de celle-ci, en faisant ce qu'on appelle une passage de ligne; mais il fut démontré une fois de plus, que cette manoeuvre, qui fait un assez bel effet à la parade, ne peut réussir à la guerre lorsqu'on est suivi par un ennemi actif. La premiere entraîna la seconde dans un mouvement rétrograde; de plus elle y apporta assez de confusion pour que ces deux lignes réunies crussent n'avoir d'autre parti à prendre que celui de la fuite," etc. Mémoires, vol. i. p. 257. There can be no question as to the general soundness of this criticism, and we should not have continued the movement described if we had been attacked in force. We should then have fought where we stood, bringing the reserves to support the front line. It justifies, however, the precaution of selecting carefully the alternate positions and making the rear line lie down.] When we came opposite the positions assigned us in the extension of the Fourth Corps line, the division changed front to rear on right battalion and so swung into its place. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 675.] Sherman had sent Captain Poe, his chief engineer, to observe our movement from the crest of Rocky Face held by Newton's troops, and congratulated Schofield upon it, saying it "was described to me by Captain Poe, as seen from the mountain, as very handsome." [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. p. 121.] In his full report made at the close of the campaign, General Schofield referred to it as "a delicate and difficult one, owing to the character of the ground, the position and strength of the enemy, and our comparative isolation from the main army." He adds: "I regarded it as a complete test of the quality of my troops, which I had not before had opportunity of seeing manoeuvre in presence of the enemy." [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. p. 510.]

Schofield had been so dissatisfied with General Hovey that on the same day he asked to have him removed from the command of the division, notwithstanding his high personal esteem for him and his confidence in his personal gallantry. The trouble seemed to be in the comprehension of orders and in the grasp of the surrounding circumstances. Sherman did not feel at liberty to act on the request, as Hovey had been assigned to the new division, before it took the field, in fulfilment of a promise of General Grant under whom Hovey had served in the Vicksburg campaign, and had been recommended for promotion as a recognition of good conduct at the affair of Champion Hill. [Footnote:Id., pt. iv. p. 122. Brigadier-General Alvin P. Hovey had been a Judge of the Supreme Court of Indiana, and a "War Democrat" in politics. His subsequent withdrawal from the army and his connection with Sherman's famous protest against promotions given under stress of personal and political influences at Washington would not be entirely clear without mention of the incident here told.]

Johnston seems to have heard rumors of Sherman's original plan to send McPherson's column against Rome, much further in rear, and he remained under the impression that this was the meaning of the movements he now heard of, until McPherson was in possession of Snake Creek Gap. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 674, 675.] On the 7th he had urged Polk to hasten his concentration at Rome, and ordered Martin's division of cavalry to Calhoun to cover the communications with Polk, and protect the railroad south of the Oostanaula. Brigadier-General Cantey was at Resaca with at least four thousand men, his own and Reynolds's brigades with fourteen pieces of artillery. [Footnote:Id., pp. 679, 682.] Movements toward his rear were reported to Johnston, and all his subordinates were on the alert to find out what it meant; the cavalry was ordered to watch all gaps south of Dug Gap, but no mention is made of Snake Creek Gap till McPherson had passed through it. [Footnote: Id., pp. 681, 683, 686, 687.] Then Cantey was told to hold Resaca firmly, and call on Martin for assistance if he needed it. Cars were sent to bring a brigade from Rome, intrenchments were made to cover the south end of the Resaca bridge; Major Presstman, chief engineer, was sent to mark out more extensive works about Resaca, and Hood was ordered there with considerable reinforcements. As soon, however, as it was known that McPherson had retired to Sugar Valley, Hood was called back to Dalton, and Johnston requested Polk to hasten in person to Resaca and take command, hurrying forward his corps as fast as possible. [Footnote: Id., pp. 687, 689.] This was the situation on the evening of the 10th of May.

When we took our position on the ridge of Rocky Face as the left of the line, the division was somewhat exposed to a flank attack, and I ordered the fallen timber on the hillside to be thrown together to make obstruction to any hostile advance, besides the usual tactical precautions of outposts and reserves. This, like the slashing made at Red Clay a few days before, was suggested by the difficulty of knowing what was going on around us in a country covered by dense forests with only small cultivated openings here and there. In this instance it was only the gathering of logs and tree-tops already lying on the ground, and utilizing them as a means of delaying an enemy till our lines could be formed. From such beginnings grew up our more and more elaborate system of intrenched camps; a natural evolution of campaigning in a country only partially cleared, with no roads worthy of the name.

To pass such a defile as Snake Creek Gap with an army was no small undertaking. Hooker was ordered to clear a second track, so that two lines could march by the flank at once, but this could only be imperfectly done in the time at command. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 126, 135, 145.] Careful orders in detail were made, fixing the time for each corps and division to move, keeping the roads filled night and day. Wagons were sent by the rear to Villanow, and the regular subsistence trains were stopped at Ringgold and Tunnel Hill till the Confederate army should be dislodged. For night marching men were stationed with torches at the forking of paths, and boards were nailed to trees as finger-posts.

Early on the morning of the 12th May, my division left its position on Rocky Face and marched through Tunnel Hill station. General Schofield, finding the shorter road to Snake Creek Gap blocked by wagons of the Cumberland Army, ordered a detour to the west, and we marched over to the Trickum and Villanow road, some two miles, and then pushing southward got within three miles of Villanow. It was evident that our movement and that of the whole army were visible from the high ridge of Rocky Face. Johnston was aware of them, and telegraphed to Richmond that Sherman was moving to Calhoun or to some point on the Oostanaula. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 698.] He put everything in motion upon his interior line to Resaca, and the last of his infantry left Dalton that night, covered by a cavalry rear-guard. [Footnote: Id., p. 160.] Howard entered the place next morning.

Map

Taking only a short rest, my division marched again at one o'clock through Villanow and Snake Creek Gap into Sugar Valley, followed by Judah's division of our corps, the other (Hovey's) being left to guard the gap and the trains. McPherson's army covered the direct road to Resaca, having Kilpatrick's cavalry on its right flank toward the Oostanaula; Thomas's army was in the centre, consisting of two corps (Hooker's and Palmer's) in Howard's absence; and Schofield was ordered to continue the curve to the left, my own division being the flank and directed to rest the left upon the ridge or near it, facing northward.

The different corps advanced from McPherson's intrenchments to the new line which was near Camp Creek on the Resaca road, facing east, thence curving north and west through a quarter circle to my position on the left close to the dominant ridge, and about four miles north of Sugar Valley P. O. on the main Dalton road. I sent Hanson's brigade forward to reconnoitre toward Tilton (where Howard was), and it reached Martin's store, at the forks of the Dalton and Tilton roads and the crossing of Swamp Creek. A Confederate division had left that position only an hour before, marching toward Resaca. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 675. In the official Atlas (compiled after the war), plate lvii. map 2, Martin's Store is given as Roberts' Store, and the position of the enemy there is marked.]

Later in the afternoon the centre and left of the whole army swung forward toward the east into the line along Camp Creek, quite away from the Dalton road. Reilly's brigade of my division was therefore left as a detachment covering that road until we should know that Howard had advanced beyond Tilton. A regiment of Hanson's brigade was left as an outpost at Martin's store, and the rest of the brigade marched across country by the right of companies to the front, keeping touch with Judah's division and this with the left of the Army of the Cumberland. It was a rough march over ridges and streams through the forest, on the long outer curve, of which the pivot was several miles to the southeast.

Sherman had hoped to be in time to interpose between Resaca and Johnston's army, as he had said in his orders of the 12th, [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. p. 158.] but the Confederates had the short interior line, and Johnston had been able to concentrate about Resaca in the course of the 13th, his rear-guard resisting Howard's advance at Tilton, and his left under Polk holding some high hills west of Camp Creek in front of Resaca which commanded the railroad bridge over the Oostanaula. With the latter exception his chosen line of defence was on the broken ridge between the Connasauga River and Camp Creek, which were nearly parallel to each other for some miles.

On the morning of the 14th the advance was renewed, guided as before by the progress of the Army of the Tennessee on the right and continuing the wheeling movement toward the east. My right brigade (Manson) continued its connection with the rest of the army, but Reilly's had a very difficult and laborious march. I ordered it to advance a mile upon the road it had covered during the night, and then by the right flank to position in line with the rest of the command. After leaving the road Reilly had to break his way through the woods, crossing sharp and deep ravines and watercourses, with no path or landmark to guide him. It was especially difficult for the artillery, and that they got through at all proved that the officers and men were experts in woodcraft. The regiment at Martin's store remained there as an outpost during the day.

Reilly came into line about ten o'clock, and we rested an hour till our flankers reported Howard's corps within supporting distance coming from Tilton. We were on the west bank of the main stream of Camp Creek, where its upper course makes an angle with the lower, some small branches coming into it from the northeast. The valley itself was open, and the change in its direction allowed it to be enfiladed by the enemy's batteries at the angle. Generals Thomas and Schofield were together upon a hill having a commanding view, and at the word from them, "The line will advance," we moved forward into the valley from the slope before them. Each brigade was in two lines, and the artillery was left on the hither side of the valley to cover the movement and reply to the enemy's cannonade. The skirmish line had been advanced to the edge of the woods on the far side, and kept the lead until we approached the Confederate trenches. We passed over two or three ridges and ravines, driving back the skirmishers of the enemy, and charged the line of earthworks on the crest of a higher ridge. Our men dropped fast as we went forward, but the line was carried and the Confederates broke from the next ridge in rear, some two hundred yards away. The direction of these ridges was such that our left was constantly thrown forward as we passed from one to another.

Judah's division on our right had not succeeded in crossing Camp Creek, and our flank was exposed to a galling artillery fire, as the ridge on which we were had its shoulder bare when it came out into the valley, whose curve gave the enemy an enfilading fire upon us. His infantry sought also to drive us out of the position we had captured, and the fighting was heavy for an hour or two. But Howard's corps came up on our left, and we made firm our hold on the hills we had gained, forcing the Confederates to adopt a new line curving to the eastward.

The division had lost 562 men, and our ammunition was nearly exhausted. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. pp. 676-679.] Wagons could not follow us, and toward evening Generals Thomas and Schofield arranged to relieve us with Newton's division of Howard's corps, let us replenish the cartridge boxes, and then pass to the left. This brought again the Army of the Cumberland together, and gave us our usual position on the flank. Newton's men came over part of the ground we had traversed, and as they crossed the open we saw them under the enemy's cannonade, the balls here and there bowling them over like tenpins. Harker's brigade came up to relieve Manson's, which was the most exposed, and Manson and I were standing together arranging the details, our horses being under cover in the edge of the wood. Harker rode up to confer with us and learn the situation, and as we talked, a shell exploded among us, the concussion stunning Manson and a fragment slightly wounding Harker. Manson's experience was a curious illustration of the effect of such an accident. He was unaware of his hurt, and only thought, in the moment of failing consciousness as he fell, that the motion was that of his companions flying upward instead of his own falling; and on coming to himself in the hospital began to speak his sorrow for what he supposed was the death of his friends. He himself never fully recovered from the effects of the concussion. Colonel Opdycke's regiment was one of the first in the winning column, and his men were hardly placed in the line before he was led back, wounded; but as soon as his wound was dressed and he had recovered a little from the shock, he was back at his post. The place was so hot a one that Harker's brigade also exhausted its ammunition and had to be relieved before the left of my own line was moved.

The captured position was firmly held by Howard's corps, whilst Hooker's, which had been relieved by the Army of the Tennessee, was marched to the left of Howard's, extending the line across the ridge toward the Connasauga and turning the enemy's flank. The whole Twenty-third Corps was also united during the night and moved to Hooker's support, where next day Hood made strong efforts to drive our line back. My own and Judah's division were held in reserve, but Hovey's was put in on Hooker's left, extending the line practically to the river, and the division took a gallant part in repulsing Hood. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 511.]

On the extreme right McPherson had bridged the Oostanaula at Lay's Ferry and made demonstrations on Calhoun. The whole Army of the Tennessee had pressed forward to Camp Creek, and toward evening of the 14th forced a crossing and carried some hills near its mouth which commanded the railway bridge. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. pp. 92, 377.] Polk's Confederate corps made strong efforts to dislodge McPherson's men, but failed, and the latter intrenched the position. As Johnston had not succeeded in dislodging Sherman at either flank of the position, and the course of the Oostanaula made it possible for Sherman to put himself upon the railway near Calhoun, the Confederate general evacuated the Resaca position in the night of the 15th, retreating southward toward Kingston and Cassville.



CHAPTER XXXVII

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: ADVANCE TO THE ETOWAH

Tactics modified by character of the country--Use of the spade--Johnston's cautious defensive--Methods of Grant and Sherman--Open country between Oostanaula and Etowah--Movement in several columns--Sherman's eagerness--Route of left wing--Of McPherson on the right--Necessity of exact system in such marches--Route of Twenty-third Corps--Hooker gets in the way--Delays occasioned--Closing in on Cassville--Our commanding position--Johnston's march to Cassville--His order to fight there--Protest of Hood and Polk--Retreat over the Etowah--Sherman crosses near Kingston--My reconnoissance to the Allatoona crossing--Destruction of iron works and mills--Marching without baggage--Barbarism of war--Desolation it causes--Changes in our corps organization--Hascall takes Judah's division--Our place of crossing the Etowah--Interference again--Kingston the new base--Rations--Camp coffee.

The opening period of the campaign had developed the conditions of warfare in so broken and difficult a country, and they were only emphasized by the later experiences of both armies. Positions for defence could be intrenched with field-works whilst the hostile army was feeling its way forward through dense forests and over mountain ridges. To carry such positions by direct assault was so costly that the lesson of prudence was soon learned and such attacks were more and more rarely resorted to. Sherman had moved upon the enemy at Resaca as promptly as the deployment and advance could be made after the turning movement and the passage of the Snake Creek defile; but we found Johnston strongly placed, on ground naturally difficult of approach, with works which gave his men such cover as to overcome any advantage we had in numbers. Still, the enemy found in turn that we could make counter-intrenchments and quickly extend them till we turned his flanks and threatened his communications, when he must either retreat or assault our works, and that, if he assaulted, the balance of losses would turn so heavily against him as to fatally deplete his army. Johnston carefully and systematically maintained this defensive, and in Virginia, after Lee had tried the policy of attack in the Wilderness, he became as cautiously defensive as Johnston. Grant was slower than Sherman in learning the unprofitableness of attacking field-works, and his campaign was by far the more costly one. The difference in such cases goes much farther than the casualty list; it was shown in October, when Sherman's army was strong and well-seasoned, but Grant's was so full of raw recruits as almost to have lost its veteran quality. There were special reasons which led Grant to adhere so long to the more aggressive tactics, which would need to be weighed in any full treatment of the subject; but I am now only pointing out the fact that in both the East and the West the lesson was practically the same. Aggressive strategy had the advantage it always has, but defensive tactics proved generally the better in so peculiar a field of operations.

Between the Oostanaula and the Etowah was the most open portion of northern Georgia, and it was possible for Sherman to move his army southward in several columns of pursuit on parallel roads (such as they were) without extending his front over a width of more than eight or ten miles. He was eager to bring the Confederates to battle in this region, and urged his subordinates to make haste. The assignment of routes to the different columns gave the centre to General Thomas, following the railroad in general, but putting his three corps upon as many country roads, when they could be found. General Schofield with the Twenty-third Corps was ordered to get over to the old Federal road which runs through Spring Place (east of Dalton) to Cassville. General McPherson with his two corps was sent by the Rome road and such parallel road as might be available, keeping communication with the centre. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 216.] Beyond him, on the extreme right, Davis's division of the Cumberland Army supported Garrard's cavalry division in a movement upon Rome by the west side of the Oostanaula. [Footnote: Id., pp. 198, 202-204.] The object of the last-mentioned movement was the destruction of the Confederate machine-shops and factories at Rome, as well as to cover the flank against movements along the main route of travel from Alabama. The extreme left flank was to be covered by the cavalry of the Ohio Army under General Stoneman.

In making such an advance, success as well as comfort depends upon the care with which the several columns are led, so that each shall keep its place, progressing equally with the others, and avoid above all things cutting into and interrupting those moving on its right or left. Each must keep the common purpose in view, and avoid obstructing the rest, for nothing is more wearisome to the troops and ruinous to the plans of the commander than to have the lines of advance cross each other. In our march of the 17th our own corps was fated to feel the full annoyance and delay of such an interference.

General Thomas ordered Howard's corps to cross by the bridges at Resaca, followed by Palmer's, which was diminished by the absence of Davis's division. He also ordered Hooker's corps to march by the long neck between the Oostanaula and Connasauga rivers to Newtown, and cross the Oostanaula there. Hooker would then follow such roads as he could find within two or three miles of Howard's line of march toward Adairsville. Sherman and Thomas both were with Howard. [Footnote: Id., pp. 202, 209, 210, 216, 217.]

Schofield ordered the divisions of the Twenty-third Corps to cross the Connasauga at different places, and make their way by different roads eastward to the Federal road crossing of the Coosawattee, turning south after crossing that river and marching till abreast of Adairsville and some four or five miles distant from it. As we had to gain several miles of easting and to cross two rivers before marching southward, ours was, of course, much the longer route; and as the pontoons were all in use at Resaca and Lay's Ferry, we had to find fords or build trestle-bridges.

I marched my own division to Hogan's Ford on the Connasauga, two miles below Tilton, and there crossed in water so deep that the men had to strip and carry their clothes and arms on their heads. Once over we pushed for the Federal road and the crossing of the Coosawattee at Field's Ferry. The other two divisions of the corps crossed the Connasauga at or near Fite's Ferry, where were trestle-bridges. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 210.]

General Hooker started upon the Newtown road, which runs southward some miles upon a long, narrow ridge which here separates the Oostanaula from its tributary; but before he had gone far he learned that the crossing at Newtown (the mouth of the Connasauga) was unfordable, and other means of getting over doubtful. He now turned abruptly to the east, crossed the Connasauga at Fite's, and marched toward McClure's Ford on the Coosawattee. [Footnote:Id., pp. 205, 206.] In moving out from Hogan's (or Hobart's) Ford, I had learned that the road from the north which crosses the Coosawattee at McClure's was probably the principal and shortest route to Cassville and had reported this to General Schofield, who ordered Judah's and Hovey's division to take the most direct roads to McClure's. These columns, however, ran into Hooker's, which were making for the same point and had headed Schofield's off, having the inner of the concentric routes on which we were marching. Neither at McClure's nor the more distant ferry at Field's Mill was there any bridge or tolerable ford, and Hooker was no better off than he would have been at Newtown. This movement had wholly disjointed Sherman's plan of keeping the three armies upon separate lines of march. Finding no means for rapid crossing at McClure's, he pushed one of his divisions to Field's, and so occupied and blocked both of the Coosawattee crossings, which by the orders should have been wholly at Schofield's disposal. We found ourselves obliged therefore to camp on the north side of the Coosawattee on the night of the 16th, instead of being well over that river and ready for a prompt advance on the 17th. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 210, 211, 220, 221, 225, 226.] Hooker himself might much better have obeyed his original orders. He reported to Thomas at ten o'clock on the morning of the 17th that he was not yet over, and had not the means of constructing a bridge that would stand; in short, that he had been "bothered beyond parallel." [Footnote: Id., p. 221.] When Schofield requested that he would allow our troops to take precedence of the Twentieth Corps wagons at either the ferry or the bridge, so that Sherman's expectation might not be disappointed, Hooker suggested that we should march back to Resaca and follow Thomas across the bridges there, thus getting into the place he himself should have taken if the Newtown crossing had been really impossible! [Footnote: Id., p. 227.]

Modern systems lay great stress upon the most scrupulous care on the part of corps commanders to follow the roads assigned them, and to avoid trespassing upon those assigned to others. Moltke has even condensed the whole strategic art of moving troops into "marching divided in order to fight united," and to avoid interference and confusion of columns en route is quite as essential as to keep tactical manoeuvres on the battle-field from crossing each other. [Footnote: See Prince Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen's Letters on Strategy (Wolseley Series), vol. ii. pp. 160, 161, 185, 237, etc.] No better proof of the necessity of the rule could be given than this. Sherman was most anxious to bring Johnston to battle in the open country between the two rivers, and ordered his subordinates to press the pursuit and to engage the enemy wherever he might be overtaken, trusting to the quick advance of the several columns to their support. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 201, 202, 211, 220, 232, 242.] Anything which delayed the columns or put them on different roads from those indicated by the commanding general, directly tended to thwart his plans. All of Sherman's dispatches during the 17th, 18th, and 19th of May show his disappointment at not getting forward more rapidly.

Johnston seemed disposed, in the afternoon of the 17th, to meet Sherman's wish for a decisive battle, and had selected a position a mile or two north of Adairsville, where the valley of the Oothcaloga Creek seemed narrow enough to give strong positions for his flanks on the hills bordering it. Preliminary orders were given and the cavalry was strongly supported by infantry to hold back Sherman's advance-guard till the deployment should be completed. The skirmishing was so brisk that, at a distance, it sounded like a battle; but upon testing the position by a partial deployment, Johnston concluded that his army would not fill it, and he resumed his retreat on Cassville and Kingston, hoping that Sherman's columns would be so separated that he could concentrate upon one of them, and so fight his adversary in detail. [Footnote: Narrative, pp. 319, 320.]

Schofield had pressed the march of his troops after getting over the Coosawattee, but the interruptions had been such that the distance made was not great, though the time was long and the troops were more tired than if they had made double the number of miles on an unobstructed road. My division was on the extreme left flank and in advance. After crossing the river at Field's Mill, the infantry by Hooker's foot-bridge and the artillery by the flat-boat ferry, I marched at ten o'clock in the evening and reached Big Spring Creek at two o'clock in the morning of the 18th. Resting only till five o'clock, we marched again, going southward on the Cassville road three miles, thence westward on the Adairsville road five miles to Marsteller's Mill. The other divisions of our corps took roads westward of that which I followed, and the cavalry under Stoneman passed beyond our left flank, scouting up the valley of Salequa Creek as far as Fairmount and Pine Log Post-Office. Hooker moved two of his divisions toward Calhoun after getting over the Coosawattee, and these regained the position relative to the rest of Thomas's army which the corps had been ordered to take. The other division (Butterfield's), which had crossed in advance of my own at Field's Mill, was necessarily on roads assigned to Schofield's command, and a good deal of interference was inevitable. Hooker was personally with this division, and in the afternoon of the 18th met General Schofield at Marsteller's Mill, and then went forward about six miles to the foot of the Gravelly Plateau, Butterfield's division going still further forward on its top. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 238-242. The Atlas of the Official Records does not give the routes of all the columns of either Hooker's or Schofield's corps, nor does it give the line of march of the cavalry on our left. The march of my own division is fixed by the memoranda of my personal diary of the campaign. The official "Atlas" (Plate lviii.) gives two mills as Marsteller's. It is difficult to identify the several roads, but my own line of march was the principal Cassville road leading from Field's Mills and ferry through Sonora until we reached the road running directly to Adairsville. On this last we marched to Marsteller's Mills. Our route on the 19th is also incorrectly marked on the map. See Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 256.]

General Schofield assembled the corps at the mills and rested for the night. Early on the 19th my division took the advance and marched southward on by-roads till we overtook Hooker's corps and found it in line of battle, its movement being disputed by the enemy's cavalry. Schofield deployed his corps on Hooker's left, my division taking the extreme flank and advancing in line to the south fork of Two Run Creek. Crossing this, we went forward to a position a mile northeast of Cassville, briskly skirmishing with part of Hood's corps. We found that we were opposite the extreme right of the Confederate position, which was a strong one on the hills behind Cassville; but an exchange of artillery shots satisfied us that we to some extent enfiladed their intrenchments. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 680.] The concentration of Thomas's army with Schofield's made a continuous line facing the enemy on the north and west. Night was falling as we took position.

Johnston had followed the railroad to Kingston, where he was joined by French's division coming to Polk's corps from Rome, and still stuck to the general line of the railway to Cassville, though this led him by a considerable detour to the east. His manifest policy was to make the largest use of the railroad to move his baggage and supply his troops, for wagon trains were not over-abundant with the Confederates. He naturally reckoned also that Sherman could not go far from the same line, and as the road crossed the Etowah near the gorges of the Allatoona hills, he wished to lead the national commander into that difficult country from the north, instead of taking the more direct wagon-roads from Kingston toward Marietta. Could Sherman have been sure of the route his adversary would take, no doubt he would have concentrated his columns by shortest roads on Cassville, gaining possibly a day thereby. [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. pp. 242, 266.]

The position on the hills behind the village of Cassville was so strong a one, and Johnston so much desired to offer battle at an early day, that he resolved to retreat no further and to try conclusions with Sherman here. He signified this in an unusually formal manner by issuing a brief and stirring address to his troops, in which he said that as their communications were now secure, they would turn and meet our advancing columns. "Fully confiding in the conduct of the officers and the courage of the soldiers," he said, "I lead you to battle" [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 728.] But when our left flank crossed Two Run Creek and partly turned the right of his position, his corps commanders, Hood and Polk, became so uneasy that they protested against giving battle there, and induced Johnston to continue the retreat through Cartersville across the Etowah River. He saw the mistake he had made as soon as it was done, and never ceased to regret it. [Footnote: Narrative, p. 323, etc.] The Richmond government had been disappointed at his retreat from Dalton and Resaca and its continuation through Adairsville. His strained relations with Mr. Davis were rapidly tending toward his deprivation of command. But more strictly military reasons made his change of purpose very undesirable. Hardly anything is more destructive of the confidence of an army than vacillation. The order to fight had been published, and even a defeat might be less mischievous than the sudden retreat in the night without joining the battle which had been so formally announced. Either the order had been an error or the retreat was one. Every soldier in the army knew this, and the morale of the whole was necessarily affected by it.

Sherman had no mind to follow the enemy into the defiles of Allatoona from Cartersville. His position at Kingston offered a far more easy way to turn that fastness by the south, if he could replenish his stores, rebuild the bridges behind him, and make Kingston the base for a march upon Dallas and thence on Marietta. On the 20th of May his orders were issued for the new movement, to begin on the 23d with preparation for a twenty days' separation from the railroad. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 271.] My own duty on the 20th was to follow the enemy's rear-guard to the river and learn the condition of the bridges and crossings. The division marched early, most of the distance to Cartersville being made in line of battle, the opposition being at times stubborn. The purpose of this was probably to prepare for the destruction of the bridges, which were burned as soon as the rear-guard crossed. We sent detachments to destroy the Etowah Mills and Iron Works a few miles above; [Footnote: Id., pp. 286, 298.] meanwhile General Schofield concentrated the Army of the Ohio at Cartersville, General Thomas occupied Kingston as the centre, and McPherson came into position on the right near the same place. General J. C. Davis's division had occupied Rome, finding there important iron-works and machine-shops as well as considerable depots of supplies. [Footnote: Id., p. 264.] General Blair was advancing from Decatur, Ala., with the Seventeenth Corps, under orders to relieve Davis at Rome, when the latter would rejoin Palmer's corps at the front.

The ten days which had passed since the movement to turn the enemy's position at Dalton was begun, had been in literal obedience to the order to march without baggage. At my headquarters we were, in fact, worse off than the men in the ranks, for, although the private soldier finds his knapsack, haversack, canteen, and coffee-kettle a burden and a clattering annoyance, he soon learns to bear them patiently, for they are the necessary condition of the comparative comfort of his bivouac when the day's march is over. The veteran, indeed, clings to them with eager tenacity, when he has fully learned that they are his salvation from utter misery. But the officer, whose hours of halting are crowded with important business, and whose movements must be light and quick whenever occasion arises, cannot carry on his person or on his horse the outfit necessary for his cooking and his shelter. We had been full of the most earnest zeal to respond thoroughly to the general's wishes, and had not tried to smuggle into wagons or ambulances any extra comforts. We had left mess chests behind, and had used our fingers for forks and our pocket-knives for carving, turning sardine boxes into dishes, and other tins in which preserved meats are put up into coffee-cups. Such roughing can be kept up for a week or two, but it is not a real economy of means to make it permanent. A compromise must be found in which the wholesome cooking of food and the shelter in a rainstorm, without which no dispatches can be written or records kept, may be made to consist with the lightness of transportation which active campaigning requires. The simple, closely packed kitchen kit of a Rob-Roy canoe voyager was more or less completely anticipated by the devices and inventions born of necessity in our campaign in Georgia. The remainder of the season bore witness that we could organize our camp life so as to secure cleanliness of person and healthful living without transgressing the reasonable rules as to weight and bulk of baggage which Sherman insisted on. Every day proved the reasonableness of his system, without which the campaign could not have been made.

The tendency of war to make men relapse into barbarism becomes most evident when an army is living in any degree upon the enemy's country. Desolation follows in its track, and the utmost that discipline can do is to mitigate the evil. The habit of disregarding rights of property grows apace. The legitimate exercise of the rules of war is not easily distinguished from their abuse. The crops are trampled down, the fences disappear, the timber is felled for breastworks and for camp-fires, the green forage is used for the army horses and mules, barns and houses may be dismantled to build or to floor a bridge,--all this is necessary and lawful. But the pigs and the poultry also disappear, though the subsistence officers are issuing full and abundant rations to the troops; the bacon is gone from the smoke-house, the flour from the bin, the delicacies from the pantry. These things, though forbidden, are half excused by sympathy with the soldier's craving for variety of food. Yet, as the habit of measuring right by might goes on, pillage becomes wanton and arson is committed to cover the pillage. The best efforts of a provost-marshal with his guard will be useless when superior officers, and especially colonels of regiments, encourage or wink at license. The character of different commands becomes as notoriously different as that of the different men of a town. Our armies were usually free from the vagabond class of professional camp-followers that scour a European battlefield and strip the dead and the wounded. We almost never heard of criminal personal assaults upon the unarmed and defenceless; but we cannot deny that a region which had been the theatre of active war became desolate sooner or later. A vacant house was pretty sure to be burned, either by malice or by accident, until, with fences gone, the roads an impassable mire, the fields bare and cut up with innumerable wagon-tracks, no living thing to be seen but carrion birds picking the bones of dead horses and mules, Dante's "Inferno" could not furnish a more horrible and depressing picture than a countryside when war has swept over it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 273, 297, 298.]

The orders issued from our army headquarters in Georgia forbade soldiers from entering houses or stripping families of the necessaries of life. Most of the officers honestly tried to enforce this rule; but in an army of a hundred thousand men, a small fraction of the whole would be enough to spoil the best efforts of the rest. The people found, too, that it was not only the enemy they had to fear. The worse disciplined of their own troops and the horde of stragglers were often as severe a scourge as the enemy. [Footnote: See Hood's orders, Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 960, 963.] Yet I believe that nowhere in the world is respect for person and property more sincere than among our own people. The evils described are those which may be said to be necessarily incident to the waging of war, and are not indications of ferocity of nature or uncommon lack of discipline.

In the organization of the Army of the Ohio, General Schofield made an important change by assigning Brigadier-General Hascall to command the second division in place of General Judah. In the battle of Resaca the division suffered severe loss without accomplishing anything, and General Schofield found, on investigation, that it was due to the incompetency of the officer commanding it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 243.] The brigade commanders, in their reports, complained severely of the way in which the division had been handled, and the army commander felt obliged to examine and to act promptly. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 581, 610, 611.] Judah was a regular officer, major of the Fourth Infantry, a graduate of West Point in the class of 1843, but lacked the judgment and coolness in action necessary in grave responsibilities. General Schofield kindly softened the treatment of the matter in his report of the campaign, but in his personal memoirs he repeats the judgment he originally acted upon. [Footnote: Schofield's Report, Id., pt. ii. p. 511; Forty-two Years in the Army, p. 182. In the passage of his memoirs last referred to, General Schofield had been using the case of General Wagner at Franklin to give point to "the necessity of the higher military education, and the folly of intrusting high commands to men without such education" (p. 181); but he also distinctly recognizes the fact that such education is gained by experience, and the fault of those he uses as illustrations was that they had not learned either by experience or theoretically. I have discussed the subject in vol. i. chapter ix., ante. There must be knowledge; but even this will be of no use unless there are the personal qualities which fit for high commands.] The crossing of the Etowah River on May 23d was again the occasion of an interference of columns, because Sherman's orders were not faithfully followed. To McPherson was assigned a country bridge near the mouth of Connasene Creek, to Thomas one four miles southeast of Kingston, known as Gillem's Bridge, and to Schofield two pontoon bridges to be laid at the site of Milam's Bridge, which had been burned. There were fords near all these crossings which were also to be utilized as far as practicable. [Footnote: Sherman's general plan was given to his subordinates in person, but he repeated it to Halleck, Official Records vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 274. Thomas's order is given, Id., p. 289, and accompanying sketch, p. 290. Gillem's Bridge in the Atlas is called Free Bridge, plate lviii. Schofield's place for pontoon bridges is fixed by his dispatch to Sherman, Id., p. 284, my own dispatch, Id., p. 298, and my official report, Id., pt. ii. p. 680. The line of march and place of crossing as given in the Atlas are incorrect.] We marched from Cartersville on the Euharlee road by the way of the hamlet of Etowah Cliffs, till we reached the direct road from Cassville to Milam's Bridge, when we found the way blocked by Hooker's corps, which had possession of the pontoons which Schofield's engineer had placed. Hooker, however, was not responsible for this, as he had been ordered to change his line of march by a dispatch from Thomas's headquarters written without stopping to inquire how such a change might conflict with Schofield's right of way and with Sherman's plans. Halted thus about noon, we were not able to resume the march till next day, as Hooker had ordered his supply trains to follow his column. [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. pp. 283, 291. Schofield to Sherman and reply, Id., pp. 296, 297. When I wrote "Atlanta," I supposed Hooker acted without orders.] The incident only emphasizes the way in which we learned by experience the importance of strict system in such movements, and the mischiefs almost sure to follow when there is any departure from a plan of march once arranged. There was, of course, no intention to make an interference, and the difficulty rarely, if ever, occurred in the subsequent parts of the campaign.

In preparation for the movement to turn Johnston's new position at Allatoona we were ordered to provide for twenty days' absence from direct railway communication. Within that time Sherman expected to regain the railway again and establish supply depots near the camps. Meanwhile Kingston was made the base, and was garrisoned with a brigade. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 272, 274, 278.] The returning veterans were coming back by regiments and were fully supplying the losses of the campaign with men of the very best quality and full of enthusiasm. Nine regiments joined the Twenty-third Corps or were en route during the brief halt at the Etowah. [Footnote:Id., p. 291.] The ration was the full supply of fresh beef from the herds driven with the army, varied by bacon two days in the week, a pound of bread, flour, or corn-meal per man each day, and the small rations of coffee, sugar and salt. [Footnote:Id., p. 272.] Vegetables and forage were to some extent gathered from the country. The coffee was always issued roasted, but in the whole berry, and was uniformly first-rate in quality. The soldiers carried at the belt a tin quart-pail, in which the coffee was crushed as well as boiled. The pail was set upon a flat stone like a cobbler's lapstone, and the coffee berries were broken by using the butt of the bayonet as a pestle. At break of day every camp was musical with the clangor of these primitive coffee-mills. The coffee was fed to the mill a few berries at a time, and the veterans had the skill of gourmands in getting just the degree of fineness in crushing which would give the best strength and flavor. The cheering beverage was the comfort and luxury of camp life, and we habitually spoke of halting to make coffee, as in the French army they speak of their soupe.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: NEW HOPE CHURCH AND THE KENNESAW LINES

Sherman's plan for June--Movements of 24th May--Johnston's position at Dallas and New Hope Church--We concentrate to attack--Pickett's Mill--Dallas--Flanking movements--Method developed by the character of the country--Closer personal relations to Sherman--Turning Johnston's right--Cross-roads at Burnt Church--A tangled forest--Fighting in a thunderstorm--Sudden freshet--Bivouac in a thicket--Johnston retires to a new line--Formidable character of the old one--Sherman extends to the railroad on our left--Blair's corps joins the army--General Hovey's retirement--The principles involved--Politics and promotions.

Sherman's general plan of campaign for the month of June was to move his army in several columns upon Dallas, and then along the ridge between the Etowah and Chattahooche rivers on Marietta. As Johnston was at Allatoona and his cavalry was active all along the south bank of the Etowah, our left flank was not only covered by Stoneman's cavalry, but Schofield was purposely held back a day's march so as to cover the rear as well as the flank, which was exposed to a possible attack from Johnston as we marched south and opened a space between us and the river, uncovering the supply trains which filled the roads over which the troops had passed.

After crossing the river at Milam's bridge on May 24th, we turned eastward through Stilesborough, to and across Richland Creek, reaching the road on the upland which runs from Cassville to Marietta by way of Rowland's Ferry. Stoneman, who had crossed the Etowah with his division of horse at Shellman's Ford on the 22d, and covered the laying of the pontoon bridges at Milam's, went back to look after a raid by the Confederate cavalry at Cass Station, and was not able to return to his position south of the river until the evening of the 24th, when he scouted the road toward Allatoona. Having the advance, my division marched southward on the Marietta road to Sligh's Mill, where the road forks, the right-hand branch turning southwest, along the ridge, to Huntsville, better known in the neighborhood as Burnt Hickory. This place was about half-way on the direct road from Kingston to Dallas, and was the rendezvous for the Cumberland Army for the night. We camped at Sligh's Mill, being joined by Hascall's division of our corps. Hovey's division and the corps trains took the road from Stilesborough up Raccoon Creek, some miles west of us and covered by our march. The Army of the Tennessee reached VanWert, some miles west of Burnt Hickory, on the Rome and Dallas road.

We lay at Sligh's Mill during the 25th, till five P.M., [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 311.] giving time for McPherson to approach Dallas, and for Thomas to continue his movement of the centre upon the same place. We were then to march to Burnt Hickory and follow Thomas to Dallas. But the enemy was also active and modified our program. His cavalry had reported our concentration in front of Kingston, and the laying of our pontoons at Milam's bridge on the 23d. [Footnote: Id., p. 737.] They had also made a reconnoissance to Cass Station, and found nothing there but the wagons of the Twenty-third Corps, of which a number were captured and destroyed. Satisfied that Sherman was marching southward in force, Johnston immediately put his army in motion. Hardee's Corps, being his left, marched to Dallas and took position south of the town, covering the main road to Atlanta and extending its line northeast toward New Hope Church. Hood was assigned to the right at the church, and Polk had the interval in the centre, upon the main road they had travelled from Allatoona. The line was along the ridge dividing the headwaters of Pumpkin Vine Creek, which flows northward into the Etowah, from the sources of the Sweetwater and Powder-spring creeks which empty into the Chattahoochee at the south.

The movement was begun on the 24th, and in the forenoon of the 25th the Confederate troops were taking the positions assigned them, covered by their cavalry. A captured dispatch gave Sherman useful information, and he directed that instead of marching straight to Dallas, Hooker should test the appearance of hostile force toward New Hope Church, turning off on the Marietta road at Owen's Mill. This brought on the fierce combat at New Hope Church, where Hood's Corps held its line against Hooker's very vigorous attack. The fighting began about four o'clock in the afternoon and lasted till darkness put an end to it. All the other troops of the grand army were hurried forward. McPherson continued his march to Dallas, Thomas hastened the Fourth Corps to Hooker's support, holding part of the Fourteenth as a general reserve, and Schofield was directed to hasten the march of the Twenty-third Corps by way of Burnt Hickory.

My division marched from Sligh's Mill at five o'clock, and on reaching Burnt Hickory took the road Hooker had travelled to Owen's Mill, accompanied by Hascall's division, Hovey's being left near Burnt Hickory to protect the trains. A thunderstorm with pouring rain came on soon after we started and lasted through the night. On reaching the road behind Hooker, we found it filled with his wagons, and the storm, the darkness, and the obstructed road produced a combination of miseries which made the march slow and fatiguing to the last degree. We plodded on till midnight, but had not yet reached Pumpkin Vine Creek, when we halted for a little rest, and to get further orders from Schofield, who had before nightfall gone on to communicate with Sherman. Word came that he was disabled by an accident when on his way back to us, and I was directed to lead the two divisions forward and report to Sherman. After a halt of an hour the men fell into ranks again, and pressing the toilsome march, reached the field at daybreak. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 303, 311, 320. The official Atlas is again inaccurate in making our line of advance from Sligh's Mill follow the Marietta road instead of that to Burnt Hickory (Huntsville).]

By Sherman's orders we joined the Fourth Corps (Howard's), extending its line to the left, and the whole swung forward through a terribly tangled forest till we passed Brown's saw-mill and reached the open valley which was the continuation of that in front of Hooker, and took our extreme left over the Dallas and Allatoona road. We had met with a strong skirmishing resistance, for Johnston was manifestly unwilling to give up the control of the road we had crossed. Having thus partly turned the Confederate position on our left, Sherman hoped that McPherson might complete their dislodgment by a similar flanking movement through Dallas on our right. [Footnote: Id., pp. 321, 322.] The distances, however, were greater than we estimated, and though McPherson kept with him Davis's division of Palmer's Corps (greatly to Palmer's disgust), [Footnote: Id., pp. 316, 324.] he was still unable to connect his line with Hooker's, and occupied an isolated, salient position in front of Dallas which would be perilous if Johnston were able to concentrate upon him.

The enemy's line was along one of the smaller branches of Pumpkin Vine Creek, and Sherman ordered for the 27th that McPherson should press toward the left down the little valley, whilst Howard, with one division of his own corps withdrawn from the line and one division of Palmer's which had been in reserve, should push out beyond our left and turn the enemy's right near Pickett's Mill. A brigade of the Twenty-third Corps moved in the interval to cover Howard's flank and keep connection with the intrenched line. The almost impenetrable character of the forest made the movement slow, and it was late in the afternoon when Howard reached the enemy's position. He found they too had been busy in extending their lines, though pretty sharply recurved, to the eastward. The fierce combat did not succeed in carrying the Confederate position, but it gained good ground near the mill, better covering all the roads toward the railway. The left wing of the Twenty-third Corps swung forward to Howard's position, and all intrenched strongly upon it.

On May 28th McPherson was ordered to prepare for moving to the extreme left, continuing the extension of our line toward the railroad. Suspecting this, the Confederates made a fierce attack upon the position in front of Dallas, but were repulsed with heavy loss. At McPherson's request his movement was delayed a little, lest it should seem to be forced by Johnston's attack. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 339, 340.]

Sherman had been very unwilling to give up the hope of putting Johnston's army to rout in a decisive engagement, and to accept, instead, the patient flanking movements by which he should force upon his adversary the dilemma of abandoning more and more of Georgia, or of himself making attacks upon intrenched lines. In writing to Halleck after the battle of Resaca, he had said that although the campaign was progressing favorably, he knew that his army "must have one or more bloody battles such as have characterized Grant's terrific struggles." [Footnote: Id., p. 219.] But the affairs at New Hope Church and Pickett's Mill show that the country was so impracticable that it was not possible to deliver an attack by his whole army at once, and so to give real unity to a great battle. He was therefore brought, perforce, to accept the systematic advance by flanking movements, and to avoid assaults upon intrenched positions on the forest-covered hills. He knew that this policy would bring a time when the enemy could no longer afford to retreat and must resort to aggressive tactics, even at the risk of destruction to his army. It was a curious repetition of the ancient colloquy,--"If thou art a great general, come down and fight me.--If thou art a great general, make me come down and fight thee." It may be readily admitted that in such a country as Central Europe other methods would have been feasible and preferable; but in the tangled wildernesses of Virginia and Georgia the matter was brought to the test by leaders who had courage and will equal to any, and the result was a system which may be confidently said to be the natural evolution of warfare in such environment. Johnston knew that his retreat, though slow, was giving dissatisfaction to President Davis at Richmond, but he saw also that to assault Sherman's lines meant final and irretrievable disaster, and he continued his patient and steady defence. Our progress around his right warned him that the New Hope Church position must soon be abandoned, and a new one was already selected, closer to Marietta, with Kennesaw, Pine and Lost mountains, for its strongholds.

The two or three days during which General Schofield had been disabled had brought me into closer personal relations with Sherman than I had enjoyed before, and was the beginning of an intimate friendship which lasted as long as he lived. I had the opportunity of learning more of his characteristics and his methods, and saw how sound his judgment was, and how cool a prudence there was behind his apparent impulsiveness. The untiring activity of his mind turned every problem over and over until he had viewed it from every point and considered the probable consequences of each mode of solving it. At bottom of all lay the indomitable courage and will which were only stimulated by obstacles, and which stuck to the inexorable purpose of keeping the initiative and making each day bring him nearer to a successful end of the campaign.

By the 1st of June McPherson had brought the Army of the Tennessee into close connection with the centre, where Palmer's Corps of the Cumberland Army had its three divisions reunited (except one brigade), relieving us and enabling Thomas to draw out Hooker's Corps as a reserve. The orders for the 2d were that we were to pass to the left beyond Howard's Corps, and push out upon the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, turning the enemy's flank and reaching, if possible, the cross-roads where it intersected a second road leading from New Hope Church to Ackworth, a little in rear of the enemy's lines. The object was to cover more completely the connections with the railroad south of the Etowah, and to gain positions which would take in reverse portions of the Confederate lines. Hooker's Corps was ordered to support this movement on our extreme left. The cavalry were ordered to make a combined effort to reach Allatoona Pass on the railroad, and to hold it till Blair's (Seventeenth) Corps, coming from Alabama by way of Rome, could arrive and occupy it in force. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 348, 349, 362, 366, 367.]

Stoneman with the cavalry of the Army of the Ohio entered Allatoona on June 1st, and reported the gorge a place he could hold against a superior force. [Footnote: Id., p. 379.] General Johnston was so well persuaded that his position was no longer tenable that he issued the same day a confidential order directing a withdrawal, but recalled it late in the day in view of the changes evidently going on at our extreme right, and so remained a few days longer. [Footnote: Id., p. 753.] On the morning of the 2d, the preliminary changes in the line being completed, Schofield marched with the Twenty-third Corps to the left until he reached the Burnt Hickory and Marietta road, near the Cross Roads Church, or Burnt Church, [Footnote: Id., p. 396.] then turning to the east and guiding his left on the road he pushed forward through an almost impenetrable forest where it was impossible to see two rods. There was great difficulty in keeping the movement of the invisible skirmish line in accord with the line of battle, which we directed by compass, like a ship at sea. In the advance, my adjutant-general, Captain Saunders, was mortally wounded by my side, as we were riding, unconscious of our danger, through an opening out of our skirmishers in a momentary loss of direction. There were extensive thickets of the loblolly pine occasionally met, where these scrub trees were so thick and their branches so interlaced that neither man nor horse could force a way through them, and the movement would be delayed till these densest places were turned by marching around them. The connection would then be made again, the direction of the skirmishers rectified, and the advance resumed. The regiments advanced by the right of companies in columns of fours at deploying distance, but not even the men of a company could see those on right or left, so dense was the tangle.

We passed over the divide separating Pumpkin Vine Creek, and its branches from Allatoona Creek, and the sharp skirmishing began as we approached the latter. The afternoon was well advanced when we reached the creek, and a heavy thunderstorm broke as our line forded the stream and pushed up the hill on the other side. We now drew the artillery fire from an intrenched line on the crest which we could not see, and for a time the mingled roar of the thunder and of the enemy's cannon was such that it was hard to tell the one from the other. My advanced line closed in as near the intrenchments as possible, whilst the second remained on the hither side of the creek. At my request Hascall's division swung still farther out to the left to develop the line of the enemy's works, and Schofield asked Butterfield's division of Hooker's Corps to advance on the extreme flank. He found that Hascall developed the full extent of the Confederate line, and thought it a good opportunity to take the position in reverse. Butterfield, however, declined to do more than move up to Hascall's support in rear, and night fell before Schofield could accomplish anything decisive. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 386. In this instance the question of relative rank by date of commission was slightly involved. Butterfield claimed to rank Schofield and declined to do more than is stated. Schofield's Report, Id., pt. ii. p. 512; Schofield's Forty-six Years in the Army, p. 130.]

The downpour of rain had been such that the creek, which was insignificant when we first came to it, became unfordable before sunset, and gave me no little concern for the first line of my division, which was over it. It was ordered to cover itself with such abatis as could be speedily made and to intrench, whilst we improvised footbridges for crossing to its support if it should be attacked. I announced that my headquarters for the night would be immediately in rear of the centre of my second line; but when the pressure of duty was off and I was at liberty to go to the position I had named, I found that it was one of the densest parts of a pine thicket, and I could not even get back of the troops in line till a path was cut for me by a detachment of men with axes. They cleared a narrow way for a few rods, and then widened it out into a circular space at the foot of the trunk of a great tree so that there was room for a camp-fire, and for two or three of us to bivouac, but most of the staff remained at a more approachable place a little in rear. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 396.] We regarded it so important that the notice given to subordinates of our whereabouts at night should not be misleading, that we stuck to the place that had been named, in spite of the inconvenience and discomfort. The fall of rain is amusingly illustrated by the fact that in the height of the storm my knee-boots filled with the water running off me, and I emptied them as I sat in the saddle by lifting first one leg and then the other up in front of me till the water ran out of the boot-top in a stream. I had been a little ailing for a day or two, and my sleep was not as sound as it usually was even in close contact with the hostile lines. In the wakeful hours the loss of my friend and able staff officer, Captain Saunders, filled me with mournful thoughts; for though the daily work under fire had exposed all the little circle at headquarters to casualties, our good fortune hitherto had bred a sort of confidence in immunity, and the sudden fall of him who had been the centre of the staff group and a personal favorite with all was a heavy blow to us when we had time to think of it.

Next morning Schofield arranged with General Thomas to relieve Hovey's division of our corps which had been on our right, and marching this division beyond Hascall's on our extreme left, the whole line went forward. The Confederate intrenchment in my immediate front was completely outflanked, and was found to be a detached position which the enemy abandoned when threatened by Hascall's advance, and my men at once occupied it. The movement was continued until Hovey's division was upon the interior Dallas and Ackworth road near Allatoona church, whilst my division and Hascall's held the cross roads which had been covered by the fortifications we had captured. Hooker's Corps passed beyond Hovey, covering the flank to the eastward. Sherman now hastened the extension of the line toward the railroad by passing the whole army behind us, till by the 6th we became the extreme right flank of the army. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. ii. p. 681; Id., pt. iv. p. 407.] Johnston had abandoned his position on the night of the 4th, falling back on the new line he had selected with his left resting on Lost Mountain and his right upon Brush Mountain, the next eminence north of Kennesaw. [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. pp. 408, 758.]

The abandonment of the New Hope line gave us the opportunity to examine it, which, of course, we did with great interest. It was about six miles long, of the most formidable character of field fortifications. The entry in my diary says of them that we found them "very strong, both for artillery and infantry, with abatis carefully sharpened and staked down. They have never before shown so much industry and finished their defensive works with so much care." When it is remembered that these lines could only be approached through forests which hid everything till we were right upon them, it will easily be believed that we congratulated ourselves that the enemy was manoeuvred out of them and was being crowded back till he must soon assume the aggressive and assault our works.

Sherman's new positions placed McPherson's army on Proctor's Creek, a branch of the Allatoona in front of Ackworth on the railroad, Thomas's army between Mt. Olivet Church and Golgotha, covering the principal roads from Cassville and Kingston to Marietta and Lost Mountain, whilst Schofield was placed in echelon on the right flank, covering the hospitals and trains until the base could be transferred to the railway. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 423, 428, 430.] My own division was left for some days in the position we had carried on the 3d, about a mile separated from the rest of the line. A pontoon bridge was laid at the Etowah railway crossing till the great bridge could be constructed, and General Blair, who was on the 6th at Kingston, with two divisions of the Seventeenth Corps, was ordered to march to Ackworth by this direct road. [Footnote: Id., p. 424.] Blair's command was the only important reinforcement received by Sherman during the campaign, and just about made up for the losses by battle and by sickness up to the time of its arrival. A more open belt of country lay along the western side of the line from Kennesaw to Lost Mountain, and Sherman hurried the readjustment of his forces in the hope of a decisive engagement with Johnston by the 9th of June or soon afterward.

A change now occurred in the organization of our corps which afterward became a matter of so much historical notoriety that it may be worth while to give the particulars with accuracy. General Hovey tendered his resignation as a division commander, and asked a leave of absence to await the action of the President upon it. The reasons assigned by him were his dissatisfaction and unwillingness to serve longer with his division, which he claimed should be increased by five regiments of Indiana cavalry, recruited at the same time and in connection with his infantry regiments, and, as he asserted, with some assurance that they should be one organization under him. He also intimated that he had reason to expect promotion which had not been given him.

I have already mentioned some dissatisfaction on General Schofield's part with him at the beginning of the campaign, [Footnote: Ante, p. 214.] but the middle of the campaign seemed so inconvenient a time to make a change that Schofield sought earnestly to smooth the matter over, and tried to obtain for Hovey other troops to increase the size of his division. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 439.] Sherman had no infantry which was not a regular part of other divisions, and could not increase Hovey's command in that way. He said that he could not tolerate the anomaly of combining five cavalry regiments with infantry in a division of foot, and that, in fact, the regiments were along the railroad, protecting our communications and could not be spared. He invited Hovey to a personal conference, and urged him to withdraw his resignation, to take time at least for reflection, and not insist upon changes in the midst of a campaign and in the presence of the enemy. The appeal was unsuccessful, and Sherman telegraphed to the War Department that Hovey was discontented because he was not made a major-general, and that, though he esteemed him as a man, he should recommend the acceptance of the resignation. On the paper itself he endorsed a full statement of the circumstances and his recommendation that General Hovey be allowed to resign. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 433, 439, 443, 448.]

The official censure of General Sherman having been thus spread upon the records of the War Department, and that department having made a tender of resignation in the presence of the enemy a cause for summary dismissal of inferior officers, the surprise of the army may be imagined when, on July 25th, Sherman was notified from Washington that Hovey and Osterhaus had been promoted to be major-generals,--the first by brevet, the other to the full grade. To Sherman himself the thing was exceedingly galling, for not only was his action in Hovey's case reversed, and that which he condemned made the occasion for reward, but he had, only the day before, in asking to have Howard transferred to the command of the Army of the Tennessee, made vacant by McPherson's death, added a special request on the general subject of promotions. "After we have taken Atlanta," he had said, "I will name officers who merit promotion. In the mean time I request that the President will not give increased rank to any officer who has gone on leave from sickness, or cause other than wounds in battle." [Footnote:Id., pt. v. p. 241.] This language had manifest reference to the cases in hand, and was, no doubt, based on rumors of what was about to happen: but it was too late, for a dispatch from Colonel Hardie, Inspector-General, was already on the way to him, announcing the promotions by order of the War Department.

Sherman's indignation boiled over in his reply, which said: "I wish to put on record this, my emphatic opinion, that it is an act of injustice to officers who stand by their posts in the day of danger to neglect them and advance such as Hovey and Osterhaus, who left us in the midst of bullets to go to the rear in search of personal advancement. If the rear be the post of honor, then we had better all change front on Washington." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 247.] The vigor of this protest carried it to Mr. Lincoln's personal attention, and he answered it, admitting that it was well taken, but urging reasons for his action which show only too well that they were more political than military. A Presidential campaign had just begun, and with all his great qualities, Mr. Lincoln was susceptible to reasons of political policy in the use of appointments to office. He referred to the recommendations for promotion that Grant and Sherman had given these officers in a former campaign, and to "committals" which had been drawn from him which he "could neither honorably nor safely disregard." [Footnote: Id., p. 259.] In the case of Osterhaus the President added that his promise had been given "on what he thought was high merit and somewhat on his nationality." In short, Indiana and Missouri were doubtful States, and the German vote was important. But what idea of military promotions was that which, in such a war and in the midst of such a campaign, advanced officers to the highest grade upon personal importunity, not only without consultation with their commanding general in the field but in spite of his protest; which does not seem even to have asked the question what was going on in Georgia and what would be the effect of such action upon the army there! If there had been unlimited power of promotion, the case might have been less mischievous; but Congress had limited the number of officers, so that vacancies were now filled, and, for the Atlanta campaign and Sherman's army in Georgia, these two were the only promotions that could be given, and of those whom Sherman recommended for the grade of major-general for service in that campaign when Atlanta was taken, not one then received it. When these things are remembered, Sherman's indignation will be seen to be righteous, and his protest a memorable effort in favor of good military administration. In replying to the President he apologized for the freedom of his language and assured Mr. Lincoln of his confidence in the conscientiousness of his general course, but he did not soften or blink the facts. "You can see," said he, "how ambitious aspirants for military fame regard these things. They come to me and point them out as evidence that I am wrong in encouraging them to a silent, patient discharge of duty. I assure you that every general of my army has spoken of it, and referred to it as evidence that promotion results from importunity and not from actual service. I have refrained from recommending any thus far in the campaign, as I think we should reach some stage in the game before stopping to balance accounts or to write history." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 271.]

Some promotions to the rank of brigadier were made in the Potomac Army at this time, and Grant was notified that there were three or four other vacancies in that grade. This led him to say he would like to have them given to such men as Sherman might recommend. He added: "No one can tell so well as one immediately in command the disposition that should be made of the material on hand. Osterhaus has proved himself a good soldier, but if he is not in the field I regret his promotion." [Footnote: Id., p. 260.] As it had been Grant's former recommendation which had been the strongest ostensible ground of the promotion, this remark of his is important as pointing out the true principle in such matters. Recommendations of such a sort are always on the implied condition that the claim shall not be forfeited by subsequent conduct, and Grant said in substance that the circumstances had altered the cases and relieved him (and the administration too) of any obligation.

To complete the discussion, it must be noted that there were three brigadiers from Indiana in the Twenty-third Corps at this time, and Hovey was not only the junior of the three but had been the least actively employed in the campaign. Manson had been stricken down in the battle of Resaca whilst heroically leading his men to the capture of the rebel position, and never fully recovered from the injury. [Footnote: Ante, p. 221.] Hascall distinguished himself at every step of the campaign. Both left the service at last without any further recognition. It was common fame in the army that they were not favored by Governor O. P. Morton, the dominant political influence in their State. Hovey's further service was not in the field, but as commandant of the District of Indiana. Osterhaus returned to the Fifteenth Corps and served creditably in Sherman's remaining campaigns. Hovey's division was broken up, one brigade being added to Hascall's division and the other to mine. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 448.]



CHAPTER XXXIX

ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: MARIETTA LINES--CROSSING THE CHATTAHOOCHEE

Continuous rains in June--Allatoona made a field depot on the railway and fortified--Johnston in the Marietta lines--That from Pine Mountain to Lost Mountain abandoned--Swinging our right flank--Affair at Kolb's farm--Preparing for a general attack--Battle of Kennesaw--The tactical problem--Work of my division--Topography about Cheney's--Our advance on the 27th--Nickajack valley reached--The army moves behind us--Johnston retreats to the Chattahoochee--Twenty-third Corps at Smyrna Camp-ground--Crossing the Chattahoochee at Soap Creek--At Roswell--Johnston again retreats--Correspondence with Davis--Mission of B. H. Hill--Visit of Bragg to Johnston--Johnston's unfortunate reticence--He is relieved and Hood placed in command--Significance of the change to the Confederacy and to us.

In the month of June we had more than three weeks of pouring rains, making a quagmire of the whole country. The "dirt roads," which were the only ones, were soon destroyed by the heavy army wagons, and even the place where they had been could not be distinguished in the waste of mud and ruts which spread far and wide. Sherman found the intrenchments Johnston had left "an immense line of works," and congratulated himself that they had been turned with less loss to himself than he had inflicted on the enemy. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 408.] The first reconnoissances found that Johnston had retreated so far that, from the commander downward, we all harbored the hope that he had retreated beyond the Chattahoochee. [Footnote:Id., p. 427.] To prepare for our next step, the railway crossing of the Etowah must be completed and our depot of supplies advanced to Allatoona. The gorge there was almost as defensible on the south as on the north, and Sherman set Captain Poe, his engineer, to work laying out fortifications to cover its southern mouth and thus prepare for holding it by a small garrison as a secondary base if we should have to leave it again to make a wide turning movement. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 428.]

Vicinity of Marietta, June 20,--July 4, 1864.

We were not long in learning that Johnston was not over the Chattahoochee, but had only fallen back to a shorter and more formidable line about Marietta, covering the railway where it passed through the defiles of Kennesaw Mountain, extending his left centre to the isolated knob of Pine Mountain, and thence recurving his flank by way of Gilgal (Hard-Shell Church in local nomenclature) toward Lost Mountain, which was held by his cavalry.

At the first appearance of a retreat by the Confederates beyond the Chattahoochee, Sherman's mind naturally turned to the plans of campaign which should follow his approach to Atlanta as they had been indicated by General Grant at the beginning of operations in the spring, and he inquired of Halleck whether the intended movement of the fleet under Farragut and part of the southwestern army under Canby against Mobile had been ordered. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 418.] Halleck answered that it had been suggested to Canby, but that Grant had, just then, all he could attend to on the Chickahominy. The fierce battles in Virginia had culminated on June 3d, in the terrible struggle at Cold Harbor, where the assault had been so costly as almost to produce dismay throughout the country, and in all our armies to enforce the lesson of caution in attacking such works as the enemy was now habitually constructing. The feeling was hinted at by Sherman in his dispatch to Washington on the 5th, when he said that although he should probably have to fight Johnston at Kennesaw, he would not "run head on to his fortifications." [Footnote: Id., p. 408.]

Amid the discouragements incident to the incessant rains the army gained positions closely enveloping Johnston's lines, and we who constituted the right flank, pushing out from hill to hill and from brook to brook, gradually outflanked the enemy and forced him to swing back his left. On the 14th he let go of Pine Mountain, where General Polk was killed and General Johnston himself had a narrow escape from our artillery fire while they were reconnoitring our positions from its summit. On the 16th we were close upon the Gilgal and Lost Mountain line, and the enemy again withdrew that flank beyond Mud Creek, which with Noyes's Creek [Footnote: Noyes's Creek was pronounced Noses Creek by the negroes and the people of the neighborhood, and the name took that form in our reports at the time. It was afterward corrected in the Official Records.] and Olley's are the tributaries of the Sweetwater (before mentioned) which flows southward into the Chattahoochee. Sherman was on the lookout for weak places in his adversary's line where he might break through and change into a rout the war of positions which was too much like siege operations to suit him. He said to Halleck that Johnston had declined the assault which must have followed our so close contact, "and abandoned Lost Mountain and some six miles of as good field-works as I ever saw." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 498.] Still keeping the right shoulder forward, we crowded in upon the new line, and in the night of the 18th the enemy retreated from the intrenchments behind Mud Creek to those of Noyes's Creek, whilst at the same time he drew back his extreme right behind Noonday Creek, compacting his lines with the purpose of transferring a corps to his left, where we now began to threaten his communications.

Again there was a momentary belief that Marietta was abandoned, but again it was premature, for the apex of the angle was stoutly held at the rocky crest of Kennesaw. [Footnote:Id., p. 519.] There was nothing for it but to continue the swing of the right flank. In his instructions to Thomas, Sherman said, "Until Schofield develops the flank we should move with due caution; but the moment it is found or we are satisfied the enemy has lengthened his line beyond his ability to defend, we must strike quick and with great energy." [Footnote: Id., p. 509.]

The waters were up in all the streams, and Noyes's was wholly unfordable. Following the Sandtown road southward, my division was stopped by the creek, and the enemy's artillery and dismounted cavalry held a good position on the other side, having removed the flooring of the bridge. In a brilliant little affair by a part of Cameron's brigade, the bridge was carried, and the whole division was soon across and intrenched at the crest on the south side, covering the intersection of the Sandtown road with that from Marietta to Powder Springs Church. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviiii. pt. iv. pp. 534, 540.] On the morning of June 22d, the rest of Schofield's corps crossed the creek and took the Marietta road, whilst Hooker's corps swung forward from the right of the Cumberland Army to keep pace with Schofield. My own division at the same time marched southward on the Sandtown road to Cheney's farm, near the crossing of Olley's Creek, the next in the series of parallel valleys trending to the southwest. Cheney's was also at the crossing of the lower road from Marietta to Powder Springs village, which forked near Kolb's farm, the northern branch being that on which Schofield was advancing with Hascall's division. But Hood's corps was also upon this road, having marched in the night from the extreme right of Johnston's army to extend the left and meet our aggressive movement. This brought on the bloody affair of Kolb's (or Culp's) farm, Hood making a fierce attack on Schofield's left and Hooker's right, which was repulsed. [Footnote: Atlanta, p. 108, etc.] The enemy had to content himself with extending southward the line confronting ours, till it passed over the ridge behind Noyes's creek and covered the valley of Olley's. Schofield had called me with three brigades to Hascall's support, leaving one (Reilly's) at the Cheney farm. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 558, 559, 566-569.]

Hood's attack had checked the flanking movement from which Sherman had hoped good results. Johnston had also been able to stretch out his right so that the works in front of McPherson seemed to be held in force enough to make an assault unpromising. On the reports of subordinates as to their uneasiness at the stretching of their lines, Thomas suggested to Sherman that the lines be contracted and strengthened. [Footnote: Id., p. 581.] At the same time reports were received that Confederate cavalry had crossed the Etowah in our rear, and had begun to make use of torpedoes to derail and destroy trains on the railway. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 579.] Yet Garrard's cavalry on our left reported the enemy's horse superior in numbers, and were unable to make such progress there as Sherman had expected. [Footnote: Id., pp. 542, 555.] It began to look like a dead-lock, and that, of all things, was what Sherman could not endure. With grim humor he wrote to Thomas, "I suppose the enemy with his smaller force intends to surround us!" [Footnote: Id., p. 582.] The only alternative seemed to be to find the places where that smaller force was most attenuated and break through by main strength. He notified his subordinates that this must be done on the 27th. [Footnote: Ibid. and p. 588.] As a preliminary, he ordered demonstrations to be kept up on both flanks to draw the enemy away from the centre. His formal order, issued on the 24th, directed General Thomas to select a point of attack near his centre. McPherson was directed to make a feint with his cavalry and one division of infantry on the left, but to make his real attack at a point south and west of Kennesaw. Schofield was likewise to make a demonstration on the extreme right, in front of my division, but to attack a point as near as practicable to the Powder Springs road, which was the scene of the affair of the 22d. [Footnote: Ibid.] The tactical details were all left to the subordinate army commanders.

On the 25th Sherman visited our positions in person, and accompanied the active reconnoissances which we were making. The result he stated in an evening dispatch to Thomas, saying, "I found that the enemy had strengthened his works across the Powder Springs road very much, having made embrasures for three complete batteries, all bearing on that road. Line extends as far as can be seen to the right, mostly in timber and partly in open ground. The enemy is also on his [Schofield's] right flank on the other side of Olley's Creek." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 589.] The outcome of this was a modification of Schofield's orders, so that instead of attacking seriously in force, he should make strong demonstrations to attract the enemy to our wing of the army as much as possible, and thus assist Thomas and McPherson in their attacks near the centre.

It was with reluctance that Sherman was brought to the determination to make a front assault. His preference and his earlier purpose had been to make an equal force to Johnston's keep the Confederates in their works whilst the remainder of his own army should move from our right and attack beyond Johnston's left flank. He had thought the opportunity was come when we had secured the crossing of Noyes's Creek, and he indicated the morning of the 22d for an advance on the Powder Springs and Marietta road which we then commanded. In his dispatch to Thomas on the 21st, he said, "I feel much disposed to push your right, supported by Schofield and Stoneman's cavalry, whilst McPherson engages attention to his front, but keeps ready to march by his right to reinforce you." [Footnote: Id., p. 546.]

The founderous condition of the whole region had made every movement slow, and in the same note to Thomas, Sherman had summed it up in the two words: "Roads terrific." Yet on the morning of the 22d the way to Marietta by the Powder Springs road was only contested by cavalry, though Johnston's ever-watchful eye had seen the danger and by his order Hood was marching his corps from the other flank of the army to meet Sherman's extension by our right. In going to examine McPherson's lines himself, Sherman had added to his dispatch, "If anything happens, act promptly with your own troops and advise me and your neighbor, Schofield, who has standing orders to conform to you." [Footnote: Ibid.] The situation was, in fact, exactly what he had been hoping for. The flank of the enemy was exposed, and we had the opportunity to use the broad road leading to Marietta to turn it. Could Hooker, supported by Hascall's division of our corps, have reached Zion's Church before Hood, or at the same time with him, it seems almost certain that the position gained would have compelled Johnston to abandon Kennesaw and Marietta at once, and fall back to the line of the Nickajack if not beyond the Chattahoochee. In that case the battle of Kennesaw would not have been fought.

In the evening of the 22d, when Sherman received Hooker's answer to a question sent him during the progress of the combat in the afternoon, and found the latter laboring under the conviction that the whole of Johnston's army was in his immediate front, he was naturally annoyed at so exaggerated a view of the situation. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 558.] Thomas received similar reports from Hooker and a call for reinforcements, and though he said he "thought at the time he was stampeded," [Footnote:Id., p. 559.] he sent to him a division from Howard's corps. The truth was that one brigade of Hooker's corps and one of Schofield's were the only ones that had suffered at all severely, the total list of less than 300 casualties being about equally divided between them. Hood had been repulsed with a loss of more than 1000. [Footnote: Atlanta, p. 113.] When to these circumstances are added those which have before been mentioned, [Footnote: Ante, pp. 258, 259.] we can understand how Sherman began to fear that, in the systematic flanking operations he had been carrying on, his army was losing the energetic aggressive character without which he could not profit decisively by the opportunities which might offer. [Footnote: See Sherman's personal letters to Halleck of July 9th, Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 91; to Grant of June 18th, Id., pt. iv. p. 507; and of July 12th, Id., pt. v. p. 123.] Adding still further the difficulty, amounting almost to an impossibility, of supplying the wing of the army most distant from the railroad, and the probability that Johnston's army was stretched into a line even thinner than his own, it will not seem strange that he concluded it was time to try whether a bold stroke would not break through the Confederate defences and rout his adversary. I am saying this from the standpoint of our own experience in the wooded and sparsely settled region we were operating in. From a European point of view, an aggressive policy of attack would be taken as a matter of course, and the only questions open for debate would be the tactical ones as to the method of making the assault and the points at which to deliver it. [Footnote: For a recent summary of the discussion of "Attack or Defence," see Letters and Essays of Captain F. N. Maude, R. E. (International Series), p. 70; also his "Cavalry and Infantry" (same series), p. 127, etc.]

The attack was made on the 27th, and failed to carry the enemy's works, though our troops were able to hold positions close to the ditch and to intrench themselves on a new line there. The casualties in the action were 2164. [Footnote: In Logan's Corps, 629 (Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 85); in Howard's, 756 (Id., pt. i. p. 205), and in Palmer's, 779 (Id., p. 509).] Some of the best officers who took part in the assault were of the opinion that had the supports been well in hand, so as to have charged quickly over the first line when it was checked and lost its impetus, the works in front of Davis's division would have been carried. [Footnote: McCook's Brigade at Kennesaw Mountain, by Major F. B. James of the Fifty-Second Ohio; Ohio Loyal Legion Papers, vol. iv. pp. 269, 270.] It is hardly necessary to say that at the present day an entirely different deployment and organization of the attacking forces would be considered essential, and the preparation by concentrated artillery fire would be much more thorough than was practicable then. The dense forest made the cannonade almost harmless at the points chosen for assault, and the attack was one of infantry against unshaken earthworks. [Footnote: For description of the battle, see "Atlanta," chap. x.]

In Sherman's visit to our position on the 25th, he had arranged with Schofield the general plan for our demonstrations on the 26th and 27th. Hascall's division was to make a feint of attack near the Powder Springs road, whilst mine should force the crossing of Olley's Creek near Cheney's, on the Sandtown road, build a temporary bridge over the creek a mile or two above, and make a strong show of a purpose to attack beyond Hascall's right flank by crossing with a brigade there. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 589, 592.]

The valley of Olley's Creek was broad and open, and the country beyond my right was more practicable than the tangled wilderness on the northern slope of the watershed. We had got beyond the denser thickets of the loblolly pine, and could better see what we were about. The old Sandtown road south of Cheney's crossed the creek on a wooden bridge which was commanded by a fortified hill a little beyond where a battery of artillery swept the bridge and its approaches. The stream widened out after passing the bridge and ran between low and marshy banks with bluffs further back. I had placed Reilly's brigade astride the road at Cheney's with Myer's Indiana battery of light twelves, smooth-bore bronze guns. A gap of more than a mile lay between Reilly and the other three brigades of the division after I had marched to Hascall's support on the 22d. The lower branch of the Powder Springs road was parallel to the creek and not far from it, and my artillery near the right of the three brigades was on an advancing knoll where the guns not only commanded the valley before them, but Cockerill's Ohio battery of three-inch rifles swept nearly the whole space to Reilly's position. [Footnote: Id., p. 568.]

To give more effect to our demonstration, Sherman directed that it begin on the 26th, and preparations were made to build a bridge in front of Byrd's brigade, which was ordered to cross the stream when Reilly's effort against the lower bridge should begin. Our first information was that the fortified hill in front of Reilly was held by infantry, and as the work was in form a redoubt, its garrison of course on foot, we assumed that it was a detached outwork of the Confederate line. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 597.] Reilly kept up a cannonade of the hill in front of him during the 26th, and made some attempts to get over the stream at the bridge, but did not seriously try to force the passage. A temporary bridge was laid at Byrd's position, and soon after noon he crossed the creek with little opposition, our artillery thoroughly commanding the further bank. [Footnote:Id., p. 599] I personally accompanied Byrd's movement. The artillery of Hascall's division as well as my own was turned on the enemy's works when they came out into the open. The hills along this part of Olley's Creek were not a continuous ridge, but knobby and somewhat detached; the higher land marking the edge of the plateau about Marietta was further back, and the Confederate line of works followed it. Byrd's direction of march was nearly parallel to the Sandtown road, and by advancing about a mile and a half he reached the summit of a rough wooded hill about six hundred yards from the main ridge, with open ground intervening. He was here from half a mile to a mile east of the Sandtown road, and from the fortified hill in front of Reilly, which was on the continuation of the same ridge, though with ravines interrupting it. The position was a very threatening one, and if any demonstration could draw the enemy in that direction, this seemed likely to do it. I directed Byrd to intrench on the crest, drawing back the flanks of the brigade so as to be ready for attack from any direction. Our movement had been sharply resisted by the enemy, but so far as we could see, only by dismounted cavalry. Sherman had said that he did not care to have Reilly force the passage of the creek that afternoon, for a strong threatening of the fortified hill would be more likely to draw the enemy that way than actually capturing it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 597.] On my reporting to General Schofield in the evening the position of Byrd's brigade with the favorable look of the country beyond, it was arranged that Byrd's bridge should be made stronger for permanent use, and that Cameron's brigade should follow him at daylight in the morning. With my whole division except Barter's brigade, which was left to cover Hascall's right flank, I was to test what further progress could be made on the Sandtown road. [Footnote: Id., pp. 598-600.]

At peep of day on the 27th we were astir, anxious to get our part of the day's work well advanced before the more serious engagement at the centre should begin. Another battery had been sent to Reilly, and he was directed to silence the enemy's guns and find a way across the creek under cover of his own if he could, but if this failed, to storm the bridge.

Cameron was over Byrd's bridge at four o'clock, and was ordered upon reaching the ridge in rear of Byrd to push boldly along it toward the fortified hill the other side of the Sandtown road in front of Reilly. Byrd's orders were to hold his position with the main body of his brigade, but to throw out detachments and skirmishers in all directions to watch the enemy and to get information of the country. Leaving Cameron as soon as he was well on his way, I rode to Reilly in front of the Cheney farm, and found that at five his dispositions for forcing the passage of the stream were well under way. He had determined to try it some distance below the bridge, at a place where, though the banks were swampy, the creek was fordable, and the hills behind gave good opportunity to use the artillery and put the men across under shelter. My chief of artillery, Major Wells, was with him, selecting places for the batteries and getting them in position. Soon after six I was with Cameron again, and before eight was back at Reilly's position, urging each to all the speed which the strong skirmishing opposition would permit. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 619.] As it was necessary to pass from one position to the other by way of the roads at the rear, it made hard riding for one who wished to be as much as possible with the active heads of columns.

Soon after eight o'clock part of Reilly's brigade got over the swamp and creek under cover of the artillery, uncovering the bridge at the road where the rest crossed; Cameron's was now coming into close co-operation from the east, and a dashing charge by both carried the hill. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 683, 703, 720.] It was now half-past eight, and the cannonade which preceded the attacks at the centre was opening heavily behind us. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. pp. 199, 632.] The captured position was a commanding one, and the view from it covered the whole region from Kennesaw to Lost Mountain. Cameron was left there whilst Reilly followed the retreating enemy with orders to advance as far as he could toward the Marietta and Sandtown road, which was supposed to come into the old Cassville and Sandtown road a mile or two ahead. We now knew from prisoners that the force opposed to us was the division of Confederate cavalry under Jackson, and that they were not closely supported by infantry.

The hill had been held by Ross's brigade, which retreated to another eminence half a mile further down the road. Reilly again advanced, supported by Cameron. Ross was again dislodged and retreated upon the rest of the division at the junction of the roads above mentioned. [Footnote: Id., pt. iv. pp. 799-801.] As we advanced it became evident that the principal ridge on which Johnston's army was broke down into separate hills as it came forward toward the forks of the main roads, and it seemed feasible to hold some of these in such a way as to make mutually supporting positions from Byrd to Reilly, covering a front of two miles and commanding the lower part of the Nickajack valley, in which the Marietta road ran. Reilly was put in one of these positions with his right across the road on which we had come, two miles south of Cheney's; Cameron was ordered forward upon high ground near Reilly's left, and Byrd was directed to straighten out his line on his right and reach as far as he could toward Cameron. All were ordered to intrench as rapidly and thoroughly as possible, for it was plain that we now commanded a short road to the railway in Johnston's rear, and that he must drive us out or abandon the Kennesaw line he had clung to so stubbornly.

I had sent my aide, Mr. Coughlan, with the orders to Byrd, and when the line was extended and skirmishers partly covered the front, he came back to me by a direct course from Byrd to Cameron and Reilly, with the daring and intelligence which made him a model staff officer, and reported that a continuous ridge connected the brigades so that pickets could be well placed in the interval to give warning of any hostile attempt to pass between. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. pp. 620, 621. Lieutenant Coughlan was afterward killed in the heroic performance of duty at the battle of Franklin. See "Franklin," p. 114.]A small hill a few hundred yards in front of the main line better commanded the Marietta road, and upon this I directed Reilly to build a lunette for an advanced guard of a regiment and a battery.

The whole affair was one of the minor class in war, but it had a special interest, in our ignorance of the topography of the country, because it revealed a way to Johnston's line of communications, which could not be seen and was not suspected when Sherman made the reconnoissance with us on the 25th, and saw the Confederate lines crossing the Powder Springs road and stretching away far beyond our right. In my field dispatch to General Schofield I said: "The possession of the end of the ridge, if we can hold it, I am now sure will prevent the enemy from extending his line along it, since it would be necessarily flanked and enfiladed by our positions. The only objection is the extension relatively to the strength of my command and the distance from supports. Upon carefully re-examining the ground my conviction is strengthened that it is exceedingly desirable to hold all we have gained, and if Hascall's place could possibly be filled by troops drawn from other parts of the line, it would give all the force needed to make a point-d'appui which would be safe and exceedingly available for future movements in this direction if they become necessary. I only suggest this by way of indicating the impression made on my own mind by the position." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 621.]

Reilly was three miles distant from Barter's brigade, which covered the right of the continuous line of the army intrenchments, and it was certainly risking something to extend the brigades of a single division so far, but it would have been a great disappointment to us to have been called back. General Schofield instantly saw the advantage, and in answering my dispatch, said, "I do not think the importance of the position you have gained can be over-estimated, especially in view of the failure elsewhere and probable future movements." [Footnote: Ibid. See map, p. 255.] He ordered Stoneman's cavalry to aid me in holding the ground and in picketing the intervals, and reported to General Sherman the details of the operation. The latter determined to make use of the advantage gained, and said, "If we had our supplies well up, I would move at once by the right flank, but I suppose we must cover our railroad a few days." [Footnote: Dispatch to McPherson, Id., p. 622.] We were left, therefore, for a little while in our exposed position, whilst the whole army made strenuous efforts to get forward supplies enough for a few days' separation from the railway. The weather had begun to favor us. The day of the affair at the Kolb farm (22d) had been the first fair day of the month, and the continuous clear skies and hot suns rapidly dried the roads. Sherman sent Captain Poe to make an engineer's examination of our position and reconnoissance in front. The report confirmed his purpose of making us the pivot in a swinging movement of the whole army. On the 29th Generals Thomas and Howard accompanied General Schofield and myself in a similar inspection, to help fix the details of the movement for the Army of the Cumberland. Crittenden's brigade of dismounted cavalry reported to me for temporary duty as infantry with my division. On the 1st of July Hascall's division was relieved by the extension of Hooker's corps, and Schofield with his whole corps in hand advanced a mile upon the Marietta road toward Ruff's Mill. Johnston's failure to attack was proof that he was preparing for retreat, and Sherman pressed the movement of his own army.

On the 2d Johnston knew that McPherson's army was marching to interpose between him and the Chattahoochee, and issued his orders for the evacuation of the Marietta lines in the night, and the occupation of the position beyond the Nickajack. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 860.] But Thomas and McPherson both followed so vigorously that the Confederate general saw that he could not cover the crossings of the river which Stoneman's cavalry was already reaching on our right, and in the night of the 4th he again retired, this time to intrenchments with both flanks resting on the river and covering the railway bridge with two or three of the principal ferries. With his usual prudence, Johnston had prepared both these lines with the aid of the Georgia militia under General Gustavus W. Smith, who, being himself an engineer, was admirably fitted to co-operate with the plans of the staff.

Again a few days had to be given to repairs of the railroad and a readjustment of the depots and means of supply, whilst careful reconnoissances of the river were made both above and below the Confederate position. Schofield's corps was placed in reserve near the railway, at Smyrna Camp ground, and on the 8th my division was assigned the duty of making a crossing of the Chattahoochee, and laying pontoon bridges at Isham's ford and ferry at the mouth of Soap Creek, [Footnote: In the official Atlas, pl. lx., two creeks are named Rottenwood. The upper one of these with paper-mills upon it is Soap Creek. The ford was sometimes called Cavalry Ford in the Confederate dispatches. For particulars of the movements at this period of the campaign, see "Atlanta," chap. xi.] about nine miles above the railway crossing of the river. Johnston does not seem to have been well served by his cavalry on this occasion, for the crossing was gained and two bridges laid with only trifling opposition, and my division was over and strongly intrenched before any concentration of the enemy was made in my front. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 85, 89, 93.] This, of course, decided Johnston to abandon the northern bank of the river, and he selected a strong position behind Peach-tree Creek as the next line of defence for Atlanta, burning the railway bridge and other bridges behind him.

Several days were occupied by Sherman in moving McPherson's command to Roswell, twenty miles above the railway, and building a trestle-bridge there, in accumulating supplies and organizing transportation for another considerable absence from the railroad. By the 17th the army was over the Chattahoochee, McPherson on the left, Schoneld next, and Thomas from the centre to the right. A general wheel of the whole toward the right was ordered, to find and drive back the enemy upon Atlanta.

Meanwhile the relations between General Johnston and the Confederate government had reached a crisis. He had regularly reported the actual movements of his army, but had carefully avoided any indication of his intentions or of his hopes or fears. When, on the 5th of July, he retreated to the position at the Chattahoochee crossing, his dispatch briefly announced that "In consequence of the enemy's advance toward the river below our left, we this morning took this position, which is slightly intrenched." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 865.] Mr. Davis replied on the 7th, expressing grave apprehensions at the situation, pointing out the dangers of the position, and saying that other places had been stripped to reinforce him, that further increase was impossible, and that they now depended on his success. [Footnote: Id., p. 867.] By an unfortunate blunder of a subordinate, the dispatch was not sent in cipher as was intended, and Johnston knew that the contents with its implied criticism was known to the telegraphers along the line and was practically public property. [Footnote:Id., p. 871] this was not soothing to the general's feelings, even when explained. His answer said that he had been forced back by siege operations, and had no opportunity for battle except by attacking intrenchments. He suggested that the enemy's purpose to capture Atlanta might be foiled by sending part of the 16,000 cavalry believed to be in Alabama and Mississippi to break up the railroads behind Sherman and force him to retreat. Davis replied with the intimation that Johnston must know that no such force was available in the West, and that it would be much more to the purpose to use the cavalry he had for that task of pressing importance. [Footnote:Id., p. 875] He sent also by letter fuller details of the stress under which General S.D. Lee was in the Department of Mississippi, showing that the hands of that officer were more than full. [Footnote: The letter, however, did not reach Johnston till after he had been relieved of command.] On the 10th Johnston had forwarded a laconic dispatch, saying, "On the night of the 8th the enemy crossed at Isham's Cavalry Ford; intrenched. In consequence we crossed at and below the railroad, and are now about two miles from the river, guarding the crossings." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 873.] On the 11th he telegraphed, recommending the immediate distribution elsewhere of the prisoners at Andersonville. [Footnote: Id., p.876]

It cannot be denied that there was a certain justification for Mr. Davis's conclusion that the circumstances foreboded the yielding of Atlanta without the desperate struggle which the importance of the position demanded. Had Johnston expressed any hopefulness, or said, what was the fact, that he was himself coming to the determnation to try the effect of a bold attack whilst Sherman's army was in motion, he would probably have been left in command. But the personal estrangement had gone so far that he confined himself rigidly to the briefest report of events, leaving the Richmond government to guess what was next to happen. His attitude was in effect a challenge to the Confederate President to trust the Confederate cause in Georgia to him absolutely, or to take the responsibility of removing him. The Hon. B. H. Hill, who was in Richmond, at Johnston's request, to learn if it was possible to reinforce him, telegraphed him on the 14th, "You must do the work with your present force. For God's sake, do it." [Footnote: Id., p. 879.] Governor Brown offered to furnish 5000 "old men and boys" for the local defence of Atlanta in the emergency, in addition to the similar number of the militia reserves already in the field. These were 'promptly accepted by Mr. Davis and the order was issued to arm them. [Footnote: Id., p. 878, and vol. lii. pt. ii. pp. 691-695, 704. The correspondence between Mr. Hill and Mr. Seddon, Secretary of War, is especially instructive as to the issue between Johnston and Davis.]

Before acting further the Confederate President sent out General Bragg to Atlanta to examine on the spot and report upon the condition of affairs. Bragg arrived on the 13th and reported that an entire evacuation of Atlanta seemed to be indicated by what he saw. The army was sadly depleted, he said, and reported 10,000 less than the return of June 10th. He could find but little encouraging. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 878.] On the following two days he visited Johnston twice and was "received courteously and kindly." "He has not sought my advice," Bragg added, "and it was not volunteered. I cannot learn that he has any more plan for the future than he has had in the past. It is expected that he will await the enemy on a line some three miles from here, and the impression prevails that he is now more inclined to fight. The enemy is very cautious, and intrenches immediately on taking a new position. His force, like our own, is greatly reduced by the hard campaign. His infantry now very little over 60,000. The morale of our army is still reported good." [Footnote: Id., p. 881.]

The receipt of this dispatch with Johnston's of the 16th seems to have decided President Davis to make a change in the command of the army, and on the 17th Hood was appointed to the temporary rank of general in the Provisional Army and ordered to relieve Johnston. [Footnote: Id., pp. 885, 887, 889.] Hood shrank from the responsibility in the crisis which then existed, and suggested delay till the fate of Atlanta should be decided; but Mr. Davis replied, "A change of commanders, under existing circumstances, was regarded as so objectionable that I only accepted it as the alternative of continuing in a policy which had proved so disastrous. Reluctance to make the change induced me to send a telegram of inquiry to the commanding general on the 16th instant. His reply but confirmed previous apprehensions. There can be but one question which you and I can entertain: that is, what will best promote the public good; and to each of you I confidently look for the sacrifice of every personal consideration in conflict with that object." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 888.]

Johnston magnanimously assisted Hood in completing the movements of the army during the 18th to the Peachtree Creek position and explained to him his plans. These were, first, to attack Sherman's army when divided in crossing that difficult stream, and, if successful, to press the advantage to decisive results. If unsuccessful, to hold the Peachtree lines till Governor Brown's militia were assembled;[Footnote: Johnston says ten thousand of these were promised him instead of five. Narrative, p. 348.] then, holding Atlanta with these, to draw the army back through the town and march out with the three corps against one of Sherman's flanks, with the confidence that even if his attack did not succeed, with Atlanta so strongly fortified he could hold it forever. [Footnote: Narrative, p. 350.]

In reading his more elaborate statement of the plans of which the above is an outline, one cannot help thinking how unfortunate for him it was that he did not give them to Mr. Davis as fully as he gave them to Hood! In answer to the pressing inquiry of the 16th for "your plan of operations so specifically as will enable me to anticipate events," he had replied, "As the enemy has double our number, we must be on the defensive. My plan of operations must therefore depend upon that of the enemy. It is mainly to watch for an opportunity to fight to advantage. We are trying to put Atlanta in condition to be held for a day or two by the Georgia militia, that army movements may be freer and wider." [Footnote: Id., p. 883.] A good understanding with his government was so essential, just then, that the most reticent of commanders would have been wise in sending in cipher the whole page in which he tells the specific details of his purposes and their alternates as he gave them to Hood. Had he done so, it is quite safe to say that he would not have been removed; but reading, in the light of the whole season's correspondence, the dispatch he actually sent, we cannot say that Mr. Davis was unreasonable in finding it confirm his previous apprehension. Had the general fully and frankly opened to Bragg the same purposes, the latter could not have sent the hopeless message which clinched the President's decision.

Johnston said in his final message to Davis that the enemy had advanced more rapidly and penetrated deeper into Virginia than into Georgia; and that confident language by a military commander is not usually regarded as evidence of competency. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 888.] There was much force in both points, but they do not touch the heart of the matter. Between Lee and his government there was always a frank and cordial comparison of views and perfect understanding; so that even in disaster it was seen that he had done the best he could and was actively planning to repair a mischief. On the other hand, they got from Johnston little but a diarist's briefest chronicle of events with no word of hopeful purpose or plan. It was not necessary that he should use "confident language," but words were certainly called for which expressed intelligent comprehension of the situation and fertility in purposed action according to probable contingencies. His advice to Hood showed that he only needed to be equally frank with the Richmond authorities. [Footnote: Mr. Davis has discussed his relations to Johnston in chapter xlviii. of his "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government," vol. ii. pp. 547, etc.; but the most succinct statement of his views is found in a paper prepared for the Confederate Congress, but withheld. See his letter to Colonel Phelan, Meridian, Miss., O. R, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1303-1311.]

The assignment of Hood to the command was, of course, in the belief that he would take a more energetic and aggressive course. He seems to have been free in his criticisms of his commander, and upon Bragg's arrival had addressed to him a letter which it is hard to view as anything else than a bid for the command. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 880.] It said Johnston had failed to use several opportunities to strike Sherman decisive blows; that yet the losses of the army were 20,000; that under no circumstances should the enemy be allowed to occupy Atlanta; that if Sherman should establish his line at the Chattahoochee, he must be attacked by crossing that river; that he had so often urged aggressive action that he was regarded as reckless by "the officers high in rank in this army, who are declared to hold directly opposite views." He concluded by saying that he regarded it a great misfortune that battle was not given to the enemy many miles north of the present position.

When Johnston learned from Hood's report [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 628.](dated February 15, 1865) the nature of the latter's statements and criticisms, he notified the Richmond government as well as Hood that he should demand that the latter be brought before a court-martial; [Footnote: Id., p. 637.] but it was then April, on the very eve of the collapse of the Confederacy, and the discussion was left for continuance in the private writings of the parties and their friends. Johnston affirmed that in the only instances in the campaign in which it could be said that a favorable opportunity for battle had not been seized, Hood himself had been prominent in protesting against an engagement or had himself failed to carry out the orders given. In his service as commander of the army, Hood became involved in disputes as to fact with Hardee and Cheatham as well as with Johnston, and the result was damaging to his reputation for accuracy and candor. [Footnote: Johnston's case is stated in his "Narrative," chapters x. and xi.; Hood's in his "Advance and Retreat," chapters v. to ix. In connection with these, Hardee's Report of April 5, 1865, is of interest (Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 697), and his letter to General Mackall (Id., pt. v. p. 987).]

The change of commanders undoubtedly precipitated the ruin of the Confederate cause; yet we must in candor admit that the situation was becoming so portentous that human wisdom might be overtaxed in trying to determine what course to take. Of one thing there is no shadow of doubt. We of the National Army in Georgia regarded the removal of Johnston as equivalent to a victory for us. Three months of sharp work had convinced us that a change from Johnston's methods to those which Hood was likely to employ, was, in homely phrase, to have our enemy grasp the hot end of the poker. We knew that we should be kept on the alert and must be watchful; but we were confident that a system of aggression and a succession of attacks would soon destroy the Confederate army. Of course Hood did not mean to assault solidly built intrenchments; but we knew that we could make good enough cover whilst he was advancing against a flank, to insure him a bloody repulse. The dense forests made the artillery of little effect in demolishing the works or weakening the morale of the defenders, and it was essentially an infantry attack upon intrenched infantry and artillery at close range.

The action of the Confederate government was a confession that Sherman's methods had brought about the very result he aimed at. The enemy had been manoeuvred from position to position until he must either give up Atlanta with its important nucleus of railway communications and abandon all northern Georgia and Alabama, or he must assume a desperate aggressive with a probability that this would fatally reduce his army and make the result only the more completely ruinous. This was the meaning of the substitution of Hood for Johnston.



CHAPTER XL

HOOD'S DEFENCE OF ATLANTA--RESULTS OF ITS CAPTURE

Lines of supply by field trains--Canvas pontoons--Why replaced by bridges--Wheeling toward Atlanta--Battle of Peachtree Creek--Battle of Atlanta--Battle of Ezra Church--Aggressive spirit of Confederates exhausted--Sherman turns Atlanta by the south--Pivot position of Twenty-third Corps--Hood's illusions--Rapidity of our troops in intrenching--Movements of 31st August--Affair at Jonesboro--Atlanta won--Morale of Hood's army--Exaggerating difference in numbers--Examination of returns--Efforts to bring back absentees--The sweeping conscription--Sherman's candid estimates--Unwise use of cavalry--Forrest's work--Confederate estimate of Sherman's campaign.

In advancing from the Chattahoochee, the arrangements Sherman made for the supply of his army provided separate lines for the trains of the three columns. McPherson' s wagons would reach him from Marietta by way of Roswell and the bridge which General Dodge built there. Schofield's had their depot at Smyrna and came by the wooden bridge which we built at the mouth of Soap Creek to replace the pontoons. The latter were of canvas, and whilst unequalled for field use, were unfit for a bridge of any permanence, because the canvas would be destroyed by long continuance in the water. As soon as they could be replaced by a pier or trestle-bridge of timber, they were taken up, cleaned and dried, and then packed on their special wagons for transport. This train was in charge of a permanent detachment of troops who became experts in the handling and care of the material and in laying the bridge. The brigade of dismounted cavalry in my division was left at the river as a guard for the wooden bridge which was kept up till the railway bridge was built and opened for use. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 163.] Thomas's troops, who were more than half the army, drew their supplies from Vining's Station byway of bridges at Power's Ferry (mouth of Rottenwood Creek) and Pace's Ferry, a mile below.

Grant sent warning of rumors afloat that reinforcements would be sent Johnston from the east, and in advancing from the Chattahoochee by a great wheel to the right, Sherman extended his left so that McPherson should move to the east of Decatur and break the Georgia Railroad there, whilst Garrard with his division of cavalry should continue the destruction toward Stone Mountain and make the gap as wide as possible. [Footnote: Id., p. 158.]

This movement made the distance travelled by McPherson and Schofield a long one, and extended their front largely, whilst Thomas was much more compact. But when once the railway should be so broken that Johnston's direct communication with the east would be interrupted, McPherson and Schofield would both move toward their right, and in closing in upon Atlanta, come into close touch with Thomas. [Footnote: Id., p. 167.]

It was whilst this movement was progressing, on the 20th of July, and was near its completion, that Hood made the attack already planned by Johnston, upon Thomas's columns, crossing Peachtree Creek by several roads converging at Atlanta. It involved the right of Howard's corps, the whole of Hooker's, and the left of Palmer's. It was a fierce and bloody combat, in which the Confederates lost about 6000 men in killed and wounded, whilst the casualty lists of Thomas's divisions amounted to 2000. Again, on the 22d, the second part of Johnston's plan was tried, and Hardee's corps, moving by night through Atlanta and far out to the southward of Decatur, advanced upon the flank of McPherson's army, whilst Cheatham at the head of Hood's own corps advanced from the Atlanta lines and continued the attack upon the centre and left of McPherson and upon the right of Schofield. A great battle raged along five miles of front and rear, but at evening the worsted Confederates retired within the fortifications of the city, a terrible list of 10,000 casualties showing the cost of the aggressive tactics. The losses on the National side were 3500, heavy enough, in truth, but with very different results on the relative strength of the armies and their morale. But the end was not yet. On the 28th McPherson's army, now under the command of Howard, was marching from the left wing to the right, to extend our lines southward on the west side of Atlanta, when once more Hood struck fiercely at the moving flank at Ezra Church, but again found that breastworks grew as if by magic as soon as Howard's men were deployed in position, and again the gray columns were beaten back with a list of 5000 added to the killed and disabled. Howard had less than 600 casualties in the action. It was only a week since Johnston had been relieved, and matters had come to such a pass in his army that the men stolidly refused to continue the assaults. From our skirmish line their officers were seen to advance to the front with waving swords calling upon the troops to follow them, but the men remained motionless and silent, refusing to budge. [Footnote: For details of these engagements, see "Atlanta," chaps, xii.-xiv.]

During the first half of August Sherman extended his lines southward, until my own division, which was the right flank of the infantry lines, was advanced nearly a mile southeast of the crossing of the Campbelltown and East Point roads on high ground covering the headwaters of the Utoy and Camp creeks. We were here somewhat detached and encamped accordingly in a boldly curved line ready for action on the flanks as well as front. It was now the 18th of August and Sherman devoted the next week to the accumulation of supplies, the removal of sick and wounded to the rear, getting rid of impedimenta, and general preparation for a fortnight's separation from his base. My position had been selected with reference to this plan, as a pivot upon which the whole of the army except the Twentieth Corps should swing across the railways south of Atlanta.

Map of the Atlanta, GA area, showing the Federal and Confederate lines.

The movement began on the 25th, and we stood fast till the 28th, when we began our flank movement on the inner curve of the march of the army, taking very short steps, however, as we must keep between the army trains and the enemy. On the 30th Schofield moved our corps from Red Oak Station, on the West Point Railroad, a mile and a half directly toward East Point, so as to cover roads going eastward toward Rough-and-Ready Station on the Macon road. We were hardly in position before our skirmishers were briskly engaged with an advancing force of the enemy's cavalry, and we felt sure that it was the precursor of an attack by Hood in force. It proved to be nothing but a reconnoissance, and showed that Hood was strangely misconceiving the situation. Its chief interest to me at the moment was in the experiment it enabled me to make of the speed with which my men could cover themselves in open ground in an emergency. The division was astride the East Point road, the centre in open fields where no timber could be got for revetment, and only fence rails to give some support to the loose earth. Giving the order to make the light trench of the rifle-pit class, where the earth is thrown outward and the men stand in the ditch they dig, in fifteen minutes by the watch the work was such that I reckoned it sufficient cover to repel an infantry attack, if it came. It would be an extraordinary occasion when we did not have more warning of an impending attack; and the incident will illustrate the confidence we had that in forcing the enemy to assume aggressive tactics, the campaign was practically decided.

On the 31st, as Sherman's left wing, we held the Macon Railway at Rough-and-Ready Station, Howard, as right wing, was across Flint River, closing in on Jonesboro, whilst the centre under Thomas filled the interval. Hood had sent Hardee with his own and Lee's (late Hood's) corps to defeat what was supposed to be a detachment of two corps of Sherman's army, and a sharp affair had occurred at the Flint River crossing, where Howard succeeded in maintaining his position on the east side. On hearing of our occupation of Rough-and-Ready, Hood jumped to the conclusion that it was preliminary to an attack on Atlanta from the south, and ordered Lee's corps to march in the night and rejoin him at once. Getting a better idea of the situation before morning, he stopped Lee and prepared to evacuate Atlanta. On September 1st Sherman closed in on Jonesboro, his latest information indicating that two corps of the enemy were assembled there. Late in the day he learned of the disappearance of Lee's corps, but assumed that Hood was assembling somewhere near. He tried hard to concentrate his forces to prevent Hardee's escape, but his scattered army could not be united till nightfall.

In the night Hood blew up the ordnance stores at Atlanta, and hastening to join Lee by roads east of Sherman's positions, he marched on Lovejoy Station. Hardee evacuated Jonesboro also, and before morning the Confederate army was assembled again upon the railroad, five miles nearer to Macon. Atlanta was occupied by the Twentieth Corps on the 2d, and Sherman ordered his army to return to the vicinity of that city for a period of rest. Hood's conduct for the past three days had been the result of complete misapprehension of the facts; but its very eccentricity had been so incomprehensible that no rule of military probabilities could be applied to it, and before Sherman could learn what he was doing, the time had passed when full advantage could be taken of his errors.

The condition of Hood's army at the close of the campaign was anything but satisfactory to him. His theory was that his offensive tactics would keep up the spirit and energy of his men and constantly improve their morale. When he found that they were, on the contrary, discouraged and despondent, and could not be induced to repeat the assaults upon our positions which had followed each other so rapidly in the last days of July, he querulously laid the blame at the door of his subordinates. He called the attack upon Howard's advance at Flint River "a disgraceful effort" because only 1485 were wounded, and asked to have Hardee relieved and sent elsewhere. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 1021, 1023, 1030. Hardee had before asked to be relieved. (Id., pp. 987, 988.) For Hood's final, urgent request and the result, see vol. xxxix. pt. ii. pp. 832, 880, 881.] True, he had telegraphed Hardee that the necessity was imperative that the National troops should be driven into and across the river, and that the men must go at them with bayonets fixed; but it was his own old corps, now under Lieutenant-General S. D. Lee, that made the principal attack and was repulsed. Lee was not one of the officers who might be presumed to be discontented with Johnston's removal, but had been brought from the Department of Mississippi, at Hood's suggestion, to take the corps when the latter was promoted, and had won Davis's admiration by his zeal. [Footnote: Id., p. 892, and vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 713.] It would be hard to find better proof that the trouble lay in the consciousness of the men in the line that they were asked to lay down their lives without a reasonable hope of benefit to their cause. The discouragement pervaded the whole army, and is seen in Hood's own dispatches hardly less than in others. [Footnote: Hood to Davis, September 3, two dispatches, Id., vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 1016. In another, p. 1017, he repeated an earlier suggestion to remove the prisoners from Andersonville. When Johnston had done this, it was made one of the charges against him. See Davis to Lee, Id., vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 692. For Hardee's opinion of the situation, see Id., vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 1018.] In a labored letter to Bragg on September 4th, he unconsciously shows how his own total misunderstanding of Sherman's movements was the prime cause of his disaster, whilst the shame at the result leads him to charge it upon others. As to the spirit of the army, nobody has given more telling testimony, for he says, "I am officially informed that there is a tacit if not expressed determination among the men of this army, extending to officers as high in some instances as colonel, that they will not attack breastworks." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 730. This letter seems to have come to light since the first publication of the records of the campaign, and is found in the supplemental volume.]

In the correspondence between Johnston and the Confederate government regarding the numerical force of his army, he naturally emphasized his inferiority to Sherman in numbers as an explanation of his cautious defensive tactics and his retreating movements. The introduction into the Southern returns of a column of "effectives" as distinguished from the number of officers and men "present for duty," [Footnote: Ante, vol. i. p. 482.] led to a habitual underestimate by their commanding officers. On several occasions Johnston defended his conduct of the campaign by asserting that his army was less than half the size of Sherman's, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 795.] and this necessarily led to an examination of his returns. These regular numerical reports are of course the ultimate authority in all disputes, and we find the Richmond government doing just what the historian has to do,--comparing the estimates of the general with his official returns. Officers of all grades and of the highest character fall into the error of memory which modifies facts according to one's wish and feeling. Thus at the beginning of this campaign we find General Bragg, speaking for the President, saying that General Polk's "estimates and his official returns vary materially." [Footnote:Id., vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 659.] Nobody could be freer from intentional misstatement than the good bishop-general. We find the same discrepancies at the East as well as the West. Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, and their subordinates fall into the same error. It is therefore the canon of all criticism on this subject, that nothing but the statistical returns in the adjutant-general's office shall be received as proofs of numbers, though, of course, the returns must be read intelligently.

Conscious of straining every nerve to reinforce the great armies in the field, Mr. Davis naturally asked what it meant when the army in Georgia was said to be so weak. General Bragg assisted him with an analysis of Johnston's last returns. Writing on June 29th, he refers to the last regular return, that of June 10th, which is the same now published in the Official Records. In using it, therefore, we agree with the Confederate government at the time in making it conclusive. It shows that Johnston's army had present for duty 6538 officers and 63,408 enlisted men, or, in round numbers, was 70,000 strong. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iv. p. 805; Id., pt. iii. p. 677.] The "effectives" are given as 60,564; but this, as we know, is the result of subtracting the number of the officers and non-commissioned staff from the aggregate present for duty. But in addition to the troops named, Bragg very properly adds that Johnston "has at Atlanta a supporting force of reserves and militia, estimated at from 7000 to 10,000 effective men, half of whom were actually with Johnston near Marietta." We thus have from Confederate authorities the proof that the army was nearly 80,000 strong on June 10th, after the first month of the campaign had closed, including the engagements at Dalton, Resaca, New Hope Church, Dallas, and Pickett's Mill.

To complete the examination of the same return, it is necessary to notice that the "aggregate present" is given at 82,413, or 12,500 more than the "present for duty." This includes "extra-duty men," such as clerks at headquarters of the organizations from Johnston's own down to brigades and regiments, men permanently detailed for any special service, men in arrest, etc. [Footnote: Hood's dispatch of September 5, Id., pt. v. p. 1021; and his Order No. 19, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 835.] It is here that good administration in an army seeks to reduce the number of those who are withdrawn from the fighting ranks, and to make the "aggregate present" agree as closely as possible with the "present for duty." I shall presently note the result of such an effort.

Sherman's return of "present for duty" on May 31st, just after Blair had joined him with the Seventeenth Corps, was the largest of the campaign, being 112,819. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. i. p. 117.] By the end of June it was reduced to 106,070, when Johnston's was 59,196 without the reserves and militia. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 679.]

When Hood assumed the command, Bragg visited the army a second time, and gave new impulse to the effort to increase its effective force. On July 27th, in a very full report to Mr. Davis, he says, "the increase by the arrival of extra-duty men and convalescents, etc., is about 5000, and more are coming in daily. The return of the 1st of August will show a gratifying state of affairs." [Footnote:Id., vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 714.] This promise was fulfilled when that return showed a diminution in the "present for duty," since the 10th of the month, of only 7403, [Footnote:Id., vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 680.] although the period included the bloody engagements of Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, and Ezra Church.

The Confederate conscription included the whole able-bodied population, and details as for extra duty were the means by which physicians, clergymen, civilian office-holders, etc., were exempted from service in the army. These lists were rigidly scrutinized, and the laxity which had grown was corrected as far as possible. The aggregate of Hood's army, "present and absent," on August 1st, was 135,000, though his "aggregate present" was only 65,000. [Footnote: Ibid.] It included, of course, prisoners of war, deserters, and men otherwise missing, besides the class last mentioned. The extent to which the efforts to bring back absentees succeeded, is shown by the return for September 20th, when the aggregate of the "present and absent" falls to 123,000, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 637.] though the "present for duty" are almost as numerous as at the end of July. The difference of 12,000 shows how many were added to the army in this way, and these are in addition to the thousands which Bragg spoke of as gained by transferring non-combatants present with the army to the list of those present for duty.

It is only by examining Hood's returns in this way that they become intelligible, for his rolls of those present for duty hardly diminish at all during the whole month of August, being 51,793 on the 1st, 51,946 on the 10th, and 51,141 on the 31st. [Footnote:Id., pp. 680-683.] On September 10th he reports 46,149, and on the 20th 47,431, the first of these returns including his losses in the final combats of the campaign and the fall of Atlanta, and the latter indicating a gain by the exchange of prisoners with General Sherman. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxix. pt. ii. pp. 828, 850.] By ignoring all the additions to his fighting force from the sources which I have enumerated, Hood was able to claim that his total losses while in command of the army were 5247. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 636.] The absurdity was indicated by Hardee, who replied in his official report that the losses in his own corps, which was only one third of the army, "considerably exceeded 7000" during the same period. [Footnote: Id., p. 702.]

Sherman's returns show a steady diminution of his available numbers during July and August, though, as he himself has said, it was not altogether from casualties on the battlefield and the diseases of the camp. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 134.] The term of service of all the troops enlisted in the spring and summer of 1861 for three years was now ended, and an interval occurred in which the new levies under the law to enforce the draft had not yet reached the field, and the army was depleted by the return home of the regiments which had not "veteranized" in the last winter. He had present for duty, on July 31st, 91,675 officers and men; on August 31st, 81,758. Sherman's statement of his losses in battle and his comparison of them with his opponents is a model of candor and fairness. With the light we now have, he might properly have increased considerably his estimate of Johnston's casualties. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. pp. 131-136.]

General Hood was quite right in arguing, in his memoirs, that the wounded in a campaign are not all a permanent loss to an army, "since almost all the slightly wounded, proud of their scars, soon return to the ranks." [Footnote: Advance and Retreat, p. 217.] But what I have said above shows that he was entirely astray when he concluded that the difference in the returns of his effective force at the beginning and end of the campaign would show the number of killed and permanently disabled. The absence of data as to the additions to his field force through the means which I have analyzed, shows how absurd a result was drawn from his premises. The reports of casualties are not unfrequently faulty, but with all their faults they would be much more valuable if a complete series existed which could be compared and tested. It would require a minute examination of all returns, from companies to divisions, to determine accurately how many men returned to duty after being wounded or captured. The imperfect state of the Confederate archives would prevent this, if it were otherwise practicable. The statistical returns are conclusive for what they actually give, but inferences from them must be drawn with care. As an illustration (in addition to those already given) it may be noted that the Confederate cavalry made no returns of casualties or losses, and they do not appear at all in the Medical Director's report which General Hood makes the basis of his own assertions. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. iii. p. 687.] How grave an omission this is will be partly seen from the fact that Wheeler's corps, which reported 8000 men present for duty on August 1st (the last return made), was in such condition when he reached Tuscumbia after the raid in the rear of Sherman's army, that its adjutant-general doubted if more than 1000 men could be got together. [Footnote: Letter of General Forrest to General Taylor, Sept. 20, 1864, Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 859.]

The use of the cavalry in "raids," which were the fashion, was an amusement that was very costly to both sides. Since Stuart's ride round McClellan's army in 1862, every cavalry commander, National and Confederate, burned to distinguish himself by some such excursion deep into the enemy's country, and chafed at the comparatively obscured but useful work of learning the detailed positions and movements of the opposing army by incessant outpost and patrol work in the more restricted theatre of operations of the campaign.

From Chattanooga to the Chattahoochee, good work was done by Stoneman and McCook in scouting upon the front and flanks of the army, and by Colonel Lowe in vigilant guard of the railway close in rear of Sherman's movements; but the use of mounted troops in mass was not satisfactory, and as to the raids on both sides, the game was never worth the candle. Men and horses were used up, wholesale, without doing any permanent damage to the enemy, and never reached that training of horse and man which might have been secured by steady and systematic attention to their proper duties. Forrest, of the Confederates, was the only cavalry officer whom Sherman thought at all formidable, and he showed his high estimate of him by offering, in his sweeping way, to secure the promotion of the officer who should defeat and kill him. In another form he expressed the same idea, by saying he would swap all the cavalry officers he had for Forrest. [Footnote: The matter took an odd turn, when on the report that General Mower had defeated Forrest in West Tennessee and that the brilliant cavalry leader had fallen in the action, Mower got his promotion, but it turned out that it was Forrest's brother, a colonel, who was killed--"a horse of another color." Mower, however, was worthy of promotion "on general principles." See Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 471; vol. xxxix. pt. i. p. 228; Id., pt. ii. pp. 130, 142, 219, 233.]

High as was the National estimate of the importance of Sherman's campaign, Southern men rated it and its consequences quite as high as we did. In the conferences at Richmond, at which Mr. Hill had represented the strong desire of Governor Brown and General Johnston for reinforcements, Mr. Davis had made his apprehension of the disastrous results which would follow the loss of Atlanta the reason of his urgency for a more aggressive campaign. In closing the interviews, Mr. Seddon, the Secretary of War, and Mr. Hill showed their sense of the importance of the crisis by exchanging letters which were diplomatic memoranda of the conversations. Mr. Hill repeated his conviction that the fate of the Confederacy hung upon the campaign. He said that the failure of Johnston's army involved that of Lee; that not only Atlanta but Richmond must fall; not only Georgia but all the States would be overrun; that all hopes of possible foreign recognition would be destroyed; in short, that "all is lost by Sherman's success, and all is gained by Sherman's defeat." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 706.] Governor Brown had accompanied Mr. Hill's effort by a dispatch in which he declared that Atlanta was to the Confederacy "almost as important as the heart is to the human body." [Footnote: Id., p. 680.] So far from taking exception to these strong expressions, Mr. Davis based his action in regard to General Johnston upon the absolute necessity of a military policy in Georgia, which would hold Atlanta at all hazards. When the city fell, the whole South as well as the North knew that a decisive step had been taken toward the defeat of the rebellion.



CHAPTER XLI

THE REST AT ATLANTA-STAFF ORGANIZATION AND CHANGES

Position of the Army of the Ohio at Decatur--Refitting for a new campaign--Depression of Hood's army--Sherman's reasons for a temporary halt--Fortifying Atlanta as a new base--Officers detailed for the political campaign--Schofield makes inspection tour of his department--My temporary command of the Army of the Ohio--Furloughs and leaves of absence--Promotions of several colonels--General Hascall resigns--Staff changes--My military family--Anecdote of Lieutenant Tracy--Discipline of the army--Sensitiveness to approval or blame--Illustration--Example of skirmishing advance--Sufferings of non-combatants within our lines--A case in point--Pillaging and its results--Citizens passing through the lines--"The rigors of the climate"--Visit of Messrs. Hill and Foster--McPherson's death--The loss to Sherman and to the army--His personal traits--Appointment of his successor.

At the close of the first week in September the Army of the Ohio encamped at Decatur, and prepared for a month's rest. My division took position on the east of the little town, Hascall's on the south, and our division of cavalry under Colonel Israel Garrard was east of us, with outposts and patrols watching the roads in that direction as far as Stone Mountain. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 828.] The Army of the Cumberland was encamped about Atlanta itself, and the Army of the Tennessee was at East Point. As Sherman cheerily announced in general orders, we might expect "to organize, receive pay, replenish clothing, and prepare for a fine winter's campaign." [Footnote: Id., p. 801.]

It was of course probable that Hood would use the interval, which was even more welcome to him than to us, in similar preparation for resuming the struggle, though the resources of the Confederacy were so strained that the Treasury was in debt to the soldiers for ten months' pay. He told the government that "it would be of vast benefit to have this army paid," [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 1027.] but this expressed his desire rather than a hope. Depression reigned in his camps about Lovejoy's Station, of which the name was a mockery. Dissent was rife among his general officers, and with the whole army he had lost prestige by the costly failure of his campaign. A period of rest might relieve the discouragement somewhat, and stringent means were to be used to bring absentees and conscripts to the ranks. Hardee was transferred to Savannah; Mackall, Johnston's devoted friend, was removed from the head of the staff, and other changes of organization were made with a view to give Hood the men of his own choice in important positions. [Footnote: These were mostly in accordance with Hood's recommendations to General Bragg when the latter visited him at the end of July. See Bragg to Davis, Id., vol. lii. pt. ii. p. 713.]

Sherman was fully aware that he would have many advantages in pushing after Hood at once, but besides his army's real need of rest, he was clear in his judgment that he must, at this stage of affairs, prepare for a campaign on a great scale to be continued through the winter till great results should be achieved. If the line of operations was to be extended toward Mobile, as was contemplated by General Grant at the opening of the campaign, or if Hood should retreat toward the east, in either case he must make Atlanta a fortified base. Experience had proven that his long line of communications was liable to interruption, and would be still more so as he penetrated further into Georgia. He must have a well-supplied and well-protected depot in the same relations to the next forward movement that Chattanooga had been to the campaign just finished. He wanted to get his share of the drafted men under the conscription law now in operation, to fill up the places of regiments whose terms had expired, and to be assured that Canby from New Orleans would co-operate in a settled plan. He was already revolving in his mind other problems which Hood might possibly open for solution; but the probability seemed strong that the Confederate army would bar the way to his advance, and must be beaten and driven back again. His first task, therefore, was to prepare Atlanta for his uses. "I want it," he said, "a pure Gibraltar, and will have it so by October 1st." [Footnote: Dispatch to Halleck, September 9th. See also that of September 4th, in which his ideas were fully outlined. Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 794, 839.] This use of the town made it necessary to remove the resident citizens, sending north those who were loyal and ordering south those who adhered to the Confederacy. As a fortified depot must be ready for a siege, trade and free intercourse with the surrounding country could not go on. The inhabitants, therefore, would be dependent on the army for food, their industries must cease, and it was more merciful to them, as well as a military necessity, to send them away. [Footnote: Sherman to Hood, Id., p. 822.]

The temporary interruption of active campaigning was eagerly seized upon as an opportunity for leaves of absence by those whose private and family affairs urgently called for attention. The presidential campaign was on, and in consultation with Governor Morton of Indiana, Secretary Stanton selected half a dozen officers from that State, which was politically a doubtful one, to vary their labors in the field by "stumping the State" for a month. The form of the request indicates the feeling as to the character of the civil contest. "In view," said the Secretary, "of the armed organizations against the Government of the United States that have been made throughout the State of Indiana and are now in active operation in the campaign for Jefferson Davis, this department deems it expedient that the officers named should have leave to go home, provided they can be spared without injury to the service." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 802. Among these appears the name of Colonel Benjamin Harrison, 70th Indiana, afterward President. Sherman's characteristic reply was sent from camp near Jonesboro, on 6th September: "The officers named in your dispatch of the 5th will be ordered to report to the Governor of Indiana for special duty, as soon as I return to Atlanta, which will be in a day or two unless the enemy shows fight, which I am willing to accept on his own terms if he will come outside of his cursed rifle-trenches." Id., p. 809. I don't recall any other instance of a regular military detail for a political campaign.] Generals Logan and Blair also went North for similar work in Illinois and Missouri.

In the middle of September General Schofield left the army for a time, to visit Knoxville and Louisville, within his department, on official business, and extended his absence for a brief reunion with his family north of the Ohio. [Footnote:Id., vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 379; pt. iii. p. 10.] This left me in command of the Army of the Ohio, and Hood's later movement upon our communications prevented Schofield's return till the end of our active campaign in October. A liberal issue of furloughs to enlisted men, especially convalescents in hospital, was made, so that we might get them back in robust health and good spirits when the fall campaign should open. General Hascall resigned and left us, and the command of his division passed to General Joseph A. Cooper, who had been promoted from the colonelcy of the Sixth East Tennessee. My own division was temporarily commanded by General James W. Reilly, who had been promoted on my recommendation from the colonelcy of the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio. Hascall had commanded his division with marked ability throughout the campaign, but had become discouraged by the evidences that he need expect no recognition from the Indiana governor, [Footnote: See ante, vol. i. pp. 406, 485; vol. ii. p. 253.] whose influence was potent if not omnipotent in the promotion of Indiana officers. The recently announced promotion of Hovey over him seemed to him equivalent to an invitation to resign, and he acted upon it.

The resting-spell at Decatur was the natural time for such changes in organization as had become necessary. The death of my adjutant-general, Captain Saunders, in June, made it necessary to fill that very important position, and my aide, Lieutenant Theodore Cox, was promoted to it. His regiment (the Eleventh Ohio) was just completing its term of enlistment, and he would be mustered out of service with it, unless a new appointment were given him, fairly won, as it had been, by two years of meritorious service. My request was so cordially backed by Generals Schofield and Sherman that there was no hesitation at Washington, and I secured for the rest of the war an invaluable assistant, whose system, accuracy, and neat methods made the business of my headquarters go on most satisfactorily.

My inspector-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Sterling, felt obliged to resign for business reasons connected with events in his father's family, and I had to part with another faithful friend and able officer. As the adjutant-general is the centre of the formal organization, keeping its records, carrying on its correspondence, and formulating the orders of his chief, so the inspector-general is the organ of discipline and of soldierly instruction as well as the superintendent of the outpost and picket duty, which makes him the guardian of the camp and the head of the intelligence service when no special organization of the latter is made. He should be one of the most intelligent officers of the command, and a model of soldierly conduct. It was no easy thing to fill Colonel Sterling's place, but I was fortunate in the selection of Major Dow of the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, a quiet, modest man, a thorough disciplinarian of clear and strong intellect, and of that perfect self-possession which is proof against misjudgment in the most sudden and terrifying occurrences.

I had brought with me from East Tennessee, as my chief of artillery, Major Wells, who had commanded an Illinois battery, and who directed the artillery service of the division with great success. My medical director was Surgeon-Major Frink, of Indiana, who, though he took the position by virtue of his seniority in the division medical staff, was as acceptable as if I had chosen him with fullest knowledge of his qualifications. The topographer was Lieutenant Scofield of the One Hundred and Third Ohio, educated in civil engineering, and indefatigable in collecting the data by which to correct the wretched maps which were our only help in understanding the theatre of operations. He was a familiar figure at the outposts, on his steadily ambling nag, armed with his prismatic compass, his odometer, and his sketch-book. The division commissary of subsistence was Captain Hentig, a faithful and competent officer who worked in full accord with Captain Day, the energetic quartermaster who had come with me over the mountains the preceding year.

A general officer's aides-de-camp are usually his most intimate associates in the military family, and were sometimes selected with too much regard to their social qualities. Those of a major-general were appointed on his nomination, but a brigadier-general must detail the two allowed him, from the lieutenants in his command. When commanding a division, custom allowed him to detail a third. They were the only officers technically called the personal staff, the others being officers of the several staff corps, or merely detailed from regiments to do temporary duty. Thus, no inspector-general was allowed to a brigadier, but when commanding a division or other organization larger than a brigade, he was permitted to detail an officer of the line for the very necessary and responsible duty. The aides are authorized to carry oral orders and to explain them, to call for and to bring oral reports, and as the general's confidential and official representatives they should be of the most intelligent and soldierly men of their grade. All the other staff officers may be called upon to act as aides when it is necessary, but these are ex officio the ordinary go-betweens, and, if fit for their work, are as cordially welcomed and almost as much at home with the brigade commanders as with their own chief.

My senior aide, after my brother's promotion, was Lieutenant Coughlan of the Twenty-fourth Kentucky, a handsome young Irishman of very humble origin, to whom the military service had been the revelation of his own powers and a noble inspiration. He was lithe and well set up, though by no means a dandy; would spring at call for any duty, by night or by day, and delighted the more in his work, the more perilous or arduous it was. He was captured in the last days of our operations about Atlanta; [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 623.] but the exchange of prisoners negotiated by Sherman gave me the opportunity to secure his return after a month's captivity and imprisonment at Charleston. Two months later he died heroically in the battle of Franklin. [Footnote: Id., vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 356.]

Lieutenant Bradley of the Sixty-fifth Illinois was second on the list, an excellent officer who was competent and ready to assist the adjutant-general in his department when work there was pressing.

The third was Lieutenant Tracy of the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio, a man of original character. Tall and angular, there was a little stoop in his shoulders and a little carelessness in his dress. His gait was a long stride, and he was not a graceful horseman. His exterior had a good deal of the typical Yankee, and our Connecticut Reserve in Ohio, from which he came, has as pure a strain of Yankee blood as any in New England. But whoever looked into his sallow and bony face was struck with the effect of his large, serious eye, luminous with intelligence and will. Devotion to duty and perfect trustworthiness, with zeal in acquiring military knowledge, were the qualities which led to his selection for staff duty. When we were preparing for the great swing of the army to the south of Atlanta, my division had been advanced close to the enemy's position near East Point, where, from a strong salient in their works, their line curved back toward the east. Our position was to be the pivot of the movement, and we intrenched the top of a forest-covered knoll separated from the Confederate lines by a little hollow in which ran a small affluent of Camp Creek. Our pickets were directed to advance as close to the enemy as practicable, so that any attempt to make a sally would be detected promptly. Tracy had been directed to accompany the officer of the day and see that the outposts were in proper position. Early next morning General Schofield visited me, and desired to see in person the point most advanced. I called Tracy for our guide, and from the trenches we went down the slope, through the woods, on foot. A spur of the hill went forward, and as we neared the edge of the forest Tracy signalled to go quietly. Stooping carefully in the undergrowth, we noiselessly advanced to a fence corner where a sentinel stood behind a tree. Halting a few paces away, Tracy motioned to us to avoid moving the bushes, but to approach the fence and look between the rails. Doing so, we found the fence at the border of a little strip of hollow pasture in which the brooklet ran, and across it on the other slope, frowning upon us, was a formidable earthwork, an embrasure and the muzzle of a great Columbiad looking directly at us. The enemy's sentinels had been driven in, so that, where we looked, one was pacing his beat at the counterscarp of the ditch. As we drew back to a distance at which conversation was prudent, Tracy asked with a grim little smile whether the picket line was sufficiently advanced. The whole was characteristic of his thoroughness in the performance of duty and his silent way of letting it speak for itself. He was struck in the breast and knocked down by a spent ball in the assault by Reilly's brigade at Utoy Creek on August 6th, but in a week was on duty again, though he never wholly recovered from the injury to his lungs. [Footnote: Being in delicate health after the war, he was made Governor of the National Home for disabled soldiers at Dayton, Ohio, and died in 1868 from an abscess of the lung caused by the old injury.]

Officers were detailed from the line for other staff duty, such as ordnance officer, commissary of musters, etc., and there was no lack of good material. The general officer who sought for sober, zealous, and bright young soldiers for his staff could always find them. They were his eyes and his hands in the responsible work of a campaign, yet their service was necessarily hidden a good deal from view, and their opportunities for personal distinction and rapid promotion were few compared with those of their comrades in actual command of troops.

It was interesting to observe the rapid progress in all the essentials of good discipline made in commands which were permanent enough to give time for development of order and system. We were fortunate in Sherman's army in having in himself and in the three commanders next in rank examples of courteous treatment of subordinates coupled with steady insistence upon the prompt and right performance of duty. Under such a régime intelligent men grow sensitive to the slightest indication of dissatisfaction, and a superior officer has to weigh his words lest he give more pain than he intended. An amusing instance of this occurred during the campaign just ended. Late one evening my division was directed to make a movement at sunrise next day, and the camp was quiet in sleep before my orders were sent out to the brigade commanders. He who was assigned to lead the column was an excellent officer, but irascible, and a little apt to make his staff officers feel the edge of any annoyance he himself felt. Some strain of relations among his assistants at his headquarters happened to be existing when my order came. He had turned in for the night and was asleep when his adjutant-general came to his tent to report the order. Not fully aroused, he made a rough and bluff reply to the call, really meaning that the staff officer should issue the proper orders to the brigade, but in form it was a petulant refusal to be bothered with the business. The adjutant took him literally at his word and left him. Next morning I was in the saddle at the time set, and with my staff rode to the brigade to accompany the head of the column, when, lo, his command was not yet astir, though in the rest of the camp breakfast was over, the tents struck, and officers and men were awaiting the signal to fall in. I rapped with my sword-hilt on the tent-pole, and when the dishevelled head of the colonel appeared, his speechless astonishment told the story of some great blunder. I did not stop for particulars, but only said, "Your brigade, colonel, was to have had the place of honor in an important day's work; as it is, you will fall in at the rear of the column. Good-morning, sir." He stood, without a word, till we rode off, and then turning to an aide who had come to him, exclaimed, "I wish to God he had cursed me!"

In the movement upon Atlanta, after crossing the Chattahoochee, we were not met in force till we came to Peachtree Creek and the extension of that line southward. The country was similar in character to that near Marietta, with openings of farming lands along the principal roads, but probably three fourths of the country was covered with forest. In answer to questions from home as to what our continuous skirmishing in such advances was like, I took as a sample the 20th of July, when we were pushing in to connect with General Thomas's right, and he was making his way to and across Peachtree Creek, where the battle was to rage in the latter part of the day.

"My camp last night," I said, "was formed of three brigades in two lines across the principal road, another brigade in reserve, and the artillery in the intervals, all in position of battle. A strong line of pickets and skirmishers covered the front and flanks some three hundred yards in advance. In the morning we drew in the flanks of the skirmish line, reducing it to about the length of one brigade across the road, and it was ordered to advance. The men go forward, keeping the line at right angles to the road, stopping for neither creek nor thicket; down ravines, over the hills, the skirmishers trotting from a big tree to a larger stone, taking advantage of everything which will cover them, and keeping the general form of the line and their distance from each other tolerably correct. The main body of the troops file into the road marching four abreast, with a battery near the leading brigade. Presently a shot is heard, off on the right, then two or three more in quick succession, and a bullet or two comes singing over the head of the column. 'They've started the Johnnies,' say the boys in the ranks, and we move on, the skirmish line still pushing right along. It proves to be only a rebel picket which has fired and run to apprise their comrades that the 'Yanks' are coming. Forward a few hundred yards, when, bang, bang, and a rattle of rifles too fast to count. The column is halted, and we ride to the skirmish line to see what is up. A pretty strong body of 'rebs' is about some old log houses with a good skirmish line on either side where our men must approach over two or three hundred yards of open fields. A regiment is moved up to the nearest cover on each side of the road, a section of artillery rattles up to the front, the guns are smartly unlimbered and pointed and a couple of shells go screaming into the improvised fort, exploding and scattering logs and shingles right and left. Out run the rebs in confusion, and forward with a rush and a hurrah go our men over the open, getting a volley from the other side. Into the woods they go. The rebs run; two or three are caught, perhaps, as prisoners, two or three of ours are carried to the rear on stretchers, and on we go again for a little way. This is light skirmishing. Sometimes we find extemporized breastworks of rails or fallen trees, requiring more force to dislodge the enemy, and then, finally, we push up to well-constructed lines of defence where we halt for slower and heavier operations."

The inhabitants within our lines about Atlanta had a hard time of it, in spite of all efforts to mitigate their suffering. Their unwillingness to abandon their homes was very great, and it was very natural, for all they had was there, and to leave it was to be beggared. They sometimes, when within range of the artillery, built bomb-proofs near their houses, and took refuge in them, much as the people of the Western plains seek similar protection from tornadoes. In closing in on the west side of the town, near the head of Utoy Creek, we took in a humble homestead where the family tried to stay, and I find that I preserved, in another of my home letters, a description of the place and their life there.

"Just within my lines" (this was written on August 11th), "and not ten paces from the breastworks, stands a log house owned by an old man named Wilson. A little before the army advanced to its present position, several relatives of his, with their families, came to him from homes regarded as in more imminent danger, and they united their forces to build, or dig, rather, a place of safety. They excavated a sort of cellar just in rear of the house, on the hillside, digging it deep enough to make a room some fifteen feet square by six feet high. This they covered over with a roof of timbers, and over that they piled earth several feet thick, covering the whole with pine boughs, to keep the earth from washing. In this bomb-proof four families are now living, and I never felt more pity than when, day before yesterday, I looked down into the pit, and saw there, in the gloom made visible by a candle burning while it was broad day above, women sitting on the floor of loose boards, resting against each other, haggard and wan, trying to sleep away the days of terror, while innocent-looking children, four or five years old, clustered around the air-hole, looking up with pale faces and great staring eyes as they heard the singing of the bullets that were flying thick above their sheltering place. One of the women had been bed-ridden for several years before she was carried down there. One of the men was a cripple, the others old and gray. The men ventured up and took a little fresh air behind the breast-works; but for the women there is no change unless they come out at night. Still, they cling to home because they have nowhere else to go, and they hope we may soon pass on and leave them in comparative peace again."

In an earlier chapter I have spoken of the easy descent from careful respect for the rights of property to reckless appropriation of what belongs to another, to robbery and pillage. [Footnote: Ante, pp. 233-235.] I find an instance of it given in one of the letters I have been quoting, which is the contemporary record of the thing itself which we had to deal with. It occurred on July 5th, when the whole army was in motion, hurrying past our position southeast of Marietta and following up Johnston's retreating army. "Some soldiers went to a house occupied only by a woman and her children, and after robbing it of everything which they wanted, they drove away the only milch cow the woman had. She pleaded that she had an infant which she was obliged to bring up on the bottle, and that it could not live unless it could have the milk. They had no ears for the appeal and the cow was driven off. In two days the child died, of starvation chiefly, though the end was hastened by disease induced by the mother's trying to keep it alive on food it could not digest. I heard of the case when the child was dead and two or three of the neighbors were getting together stealthily to dig its grave." One of them came to me to beg permission to assist, and to explain that the little gathering meant nothing hostile to us. I got the facts only by cross-questioning, for the old man was abject in his solicitude not to seem to be complaining, and did not give the worst of the story till my hot indignation at what I heard assured him of sympathy and of a desire to punish the crime.

"A woman came to me the same morning, and said the cavalry had taken the last mouthful from her, telling her they were marching and hadn't time to draw their rations, but that she would be fed by applying to us of the infantry column. The robbers well knew that we were forbidden to issue rations to citizens. They sacked the house of an old man with seven daughters by a second wife, all young things. He came to me in utter distress--not a mouthful in that house for twenty-four hours, their kitchen garden and farm utterly ruined, the country behind in the same condition, and he without means of travelling or carrying anything if he tried to move away." I added, "Of course in such extreme cases I try to find some way of keeping people from death, and usually send them to the rear in our empty wagon trains going back for supplies, but their helpless condition is very little bettered by going."

Such things were done chiefly by the professional stragglers and skulkers, and the stringent orders which were issued in both Sherman's and Hood's armies did not easily reach men who would not report for duty if they could help it. The country people could not tell who had done them the mischief, and the rascals would be gone before the case came before any superior officer who would interest himself in it. I must not, however, suppress the comment I made in the letter quoted. "The evil is the legitimate outgrowth of the hue and cry raised by our Christian people of the North against protecting rebel property, etc. Officers were deterred from enforcing discipline in this respect by public opinion at home, and now the evil is past remedy. The war has been prolonged, the army disintegrated and weakened, and the cause itself jeoparded, because discipline was construed as friendliness to rebels." Straggling and its accompanying evils may be said to be the gauge of discipline in an army. There were brigades and divisions in which it hardly occurred; there were others in which the stragglers were a considerable fraction of the whole.

During the evacuation of Atlanta by the citizens, there was a good deal of migration beyond our lines among those who were not compelled to go. In Decatur applications were made to me daily, and we kept a record of the passes we issued, trying to know the purpose and motives of those going away, for, of course, a good deal of it was with the intent to carry intelligence to the enemy. The reasons given were often amusing. Two ladies applied, one day, for leave to go to Florida, which they claimed as their home. They said they had been visiting kinsmen in Decatur when the advance of our army brought them within our lines before they were aware of it. When asked why not stay with their friends till the armies should move away, they answered that they were sure they could not endure the rigors of the climate! The phrase became a byword at our headquarters, where we were longing for the invigorating breezes of the North.

We had a visit, about the middle of September, from two gentlemen of some prominence in the public affairs of Georgia,--Mr. Hill and Mr. Foster. They came ostensibly to seek to obtain and remove the body of Mr. Hill's son, who had fallen in the campaign, but I suspected that they represented Governor Brown, who was known to be in a state of exasperation at the results to Georgia of a war begun to assert an ultra doctrine of State rights, but which had destroyed every semblance of State independence and created a centralized government at Richmond which ruled with a rod of iron. Mr. Hill was the same who had represented Governor Brown and General Johnston at Richmond in the mission in July, [Footnote: Ante, p. 272.] and whilst he did not formally present any subject except that of getting his son's body, our conversation gave me sufficient knowledge of his views on the subjects of controversy to make me deeply interested in the outcome of the visit to General Sherman which I arranged for him. [Footnote: See Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 137.] Nothing of present practical importance came of the interviews, but the voluminous and bitterly controversial correspondence between the Georgia Governor and the War Department of the Confederacy is a curious revelation of the antagonistic influences which had sprung up in the progress of the war. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. lii. pt. ii. pp. 736, 754, 778, 796, 803.]

The death of General McPherson in the battle of Atlanta had been a great loss to the army, but to Sherman it was the loss of an intimate friend as well as an able subordinate. They had been closely associated under Grant in all the campaigns of the Army of the Tennessee, and their mutual attachment and confidence was as strong as their devoted loyalty to their great chief. My own acquaintance with McPherson had been slight, but yet enough to enable me to understand the warm personal regard he inspired in those who came to know him well. I met him first on the day we passed through Snake Creek Gap into Sugar Valley, before the battle of Resaca. We had to learn from him the positions of the troops already advancing toward the town, and I rode with General Schofield to his tent for this purpose. Schofield and he had been classmates and room-mates at West Point, and McPherson revealed himself to his old friend as he would not be likely to do to others. His affability and cordial good-will struck one at once. His graceful bearing and refined, intelligent face heightened the impression, and one could not be with him many minutes without seeing that he was a lovable person. An evenly balanced mind and character had given him a high grade as a cadet, and at the beginning of the war he was serving as a captain of engineers. Being appointed to General Grant's staff, he won completely the general's confidence, and his promotion was rapid, following closely behind that of Sherman.

His death was sincerely mourned, and his place as a soldier was not easy to fill. Sherman would have given the command of the Army of the Tennessee to General Logan, who was next in rank in it, but the strong opposition of General Thomas made him conclude that this would be unwise. [Footnote: See Sherman, in The Great Commanders Series, pp. 229, 332.] If he made a selection outside of the Army of the Tennessee, Hooker had first claim by seniority of rank, but both Sherman and Thomas lacked confidence in him. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 272.] When Howard was selected on Thomas's suggestion, Hooker was doubly offended, for Howard had been his subordinate at the beginning of the year, and there had been no love lost between them. Hooker now asked to be relieved from further service in Sherman's army, and he retired from active field service,--Slocum, another of his former subordinates, with whom he had a violent quarrel, being appointed to the command of his corps on Thomas's nomination. [Footnote: Id., pp. 272, 273.] Halleck, in a letter to Sherman of September 16th, gave pointed testimony to facts which showed why Hooker was personally an unacceptable subordinate. [Footnote:Id., p. 857.] Sherman insisted, with good reason, that Hooker had no real grievance, as he was left in command of his corps, and Howard's promotion was in another and independent organization, the Army of the Tennessee. He also declared that no indignity was intended or offered, and that he simply performed his own duty of selection in accordance with what he believed to be sound reasons. As to Logan, he took pains to praise his handling of the Army of the Tennessee after McPherson's death, and to emphasize his own high opinion of him as an officer and the respect in which he was held by the whole army. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxviii. pt. v. p. 522.]



CHAPTER XLII

CAMPAIGN OF OCTOBER--HOOD MOVES UPON OUR COMMUNICATIONS

Hood's plan to transfer the campaign to northern Georgia--Made partly subordinate to Beauregard--Forrest on a raid--Sherman makes large detachments--Sends Thomas to Tennessee--Hood across the Chattahoochee--Sherman follows--Affair at Allatoona--Planning the March to the Sea--Sherman at Rome--Reconnoissance down the Coosa--Hood at Resaca--Sherman in pursuit--Hood retreats down the Chattooga valley--We follow in two columns--Concentrate at Gaylesville--Beauregard and Hood at Gadsden--Studying the situation--Thomas's advice--Schofield rejoins--Conference regarding the Twenty-third Corps--Hood marches on Decatur--His explanation of change of plan--Sherman marches back to Rome--We are ordered to join Thomas--Hood repulsed at Decatur marches to Tuscumbia--Our own march begun--Parting with Sherman--Dalton--Chattanooga--Presidential election--Voting by steam--Retrospect of October camp-life--Camp sports--Soldiers' pets--Story of a lizard.

General Hood had been pretty well informed of what was going on in Sherman's army, and was disposed to take advantage of the reduction of our forces by furloughs and the absence of numerous officers on leave. The Confederate President had visited him, and changes in his army had been ordered which made the organization more to his mind. Hardee being sent to Savannah to command a department on the coast, General Cheatham succeeded to the command of the corps. Hood proposed to cross the Chattahoochee some twenty miles west of Atlanta, and move on Powder Springs, where he could reach the railroad and force Sherman to attack him or to move south. In the latter case he proposed to follow, and had urged that the forces in central Georgia be increased so as to resist Sherman's progress if it should be toward Augusta or Macon. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. pp. 847, 862.]

Mr. Davis had been convinced by the campaign just ended that Hood's fiery energy needed the guidance of a better military intellect, and the plan of placing a common head over Hood's and Taylor's departments had occurred to him. Beauregard was the officer whose rank, next to Johnston, indicated him for the command, but he was disaffected toward Davis, and his friends in Congress were active in opposition to the government. [Footnote: Ante, p. 183.] General Lee had suggested Beauregard to take Hood's place, and had sounded him as to his willingness to do so after discussing with him the whole situation in Georgia. Lee felt able, thereupon, to assure the President that Beauregard would accept the assignment; saying, "I think you may feel assured that he understands the general condition of affairs, the difficulties with which they are surrounded, and the importance of exerting all his energies for their improvement." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 846.] But having learned Hood's plan of operating upon Sherman's communications, and being impressed anew by his visit with the energy of Hood's nature, which quickly reacted from the discouragement following the fall of Atlanta, he partly accepted Lee's suggestion, modifying it by giving Beauregard the supreme direction of affairs in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, whilst leaving Hood free to carry out the plan of campaign which he proposed, and to retain the command of his army except when Beauregard might be actually present with it. [Footnote:Id., p. 880.]

General Forrest with his cavalry corps had already been ordered to make a raid upon the railways in Tennessee in pursuance of a suggestion of his own, and on September 16th he started northward. [Footnote: Id., pp. 818, 835.] This plan very well accorded with Hood's, and when the latter determined, later in the campaign, himself to invade Tennessee, Forrest's orders were extended so as to direct a junction with him. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 843.]

On September 24th Sherman learned that Forrest was at Athens and Pulaski on the railway from Decatur to Nashville. He had sent a detachment to burn bridges on the Memphis road also, and the whole of middle and western Tennessee was afire with the excitement of the new raid by the doughty Confederate leader. He received the surrender of the garrison at Athens without serious resistance, but by the time he approached Pulaski, burning bridges as he went, General Rousseau, who was in command of the district, had concentrated force enough to repulse him. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 450, 455, 456, 870, 876, 879.] After that Forrest attacked no considerable post, and did not reach Sherman's principal line of communications, but making circuitous routes in the region about Columbia, finally retreated across the Tennessee River at Florence on the 5th and 6th of October. [Footnote:Id., pt. i. p. 547.]

On getting the news of Forrest's raid, Sherman sent back two divisions of the Army of the Cumberland to Chattanooga, and one from the Army of the Tennessee to Rome. He also sent General Thomas to Chattanooga to bring into co-operation all the troops posted in Tennessee and northern Georgia. This scattering of his forces to protect his railways proves how low an estimate he put upon the efficiency of Hood's army, and his willingness to receive an attack from it. When he moved northward after Hood, a week later, he left the Twentieth Corps to hold Atlanta, and had with him little more than half of the forces with which he had made the Atlanta campaign; but they proved enough.

My own command had been quietly resting at Decatur with nothing more exciting to do than to send out foraging parties and reconnoissances, when on Friday, September 30th, I got a dispatch from General Sherman which put us on the alert. He told me that Hood had part of his infantry over the Chattahoochee, and was evidently combining desperate measures to destroy our railways. After referring to his arrangements to checkmate Forrest, he gave the "nub" of his own ideas as follows: "I may have to make some quick countermoves east and southeast. Keep your folks ready to send baggage into Atlanta and to start on short notice.... There are fine corn and potato fields about Covington and the Ocmulgee bottoms. We are well supplied with bread, meat, etc., but forage is scarce, and may force us to strike out. If we make a countermove, I will go out myself with a large force and take such a route as will supply us and at the same time make Hood recall the whole or part of his army." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. ii. p. 540.] I answered that we would be "minute men," and also informed General Schofield by telegraph that we might resume active work any moment. [Footnote: Id., p. 541.]

Next day Sherman had evidence that Hood was crossing the Chattahoochee with his whole army, and wrote to General Howard and to me that if Hood should swing over to the Alabama railroad and try to get into Tennessee, he would, if Grant consented, draw to him the troops south of the Etowah, leave Thomas with the rest, and make for Savannah or Charleston by way of Milledgeville and Millen. By the destruction of the east and west roads, Georgia would thus become a break in the Confederacy. But should Hood move upon our communications between the Chattahoochee and the Etowah, he would turn upon him. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 6.] The latter was the movement Hood actually made, and the March to the Sea was postponed for a few weeks.

I need not repeat here the details of the October campaign, which I have given elsewhere. [Footnote: See "Atlanta," chap. xvii.; and for the growth and completion of the plan of the March to the Sea, reference is made to the Life of General Sherman (Great Commanders Series), chap. x.] On the 2d Sherman was aware that the enemy was advancing on Marietta; but far from hurrying to anticipate him there, we were held back yet another day that Hood might be lured far enough to let us strike him in rear. General Corse at Rome was ordered to reinforce Allatoona pass and hold stubbornly there, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 8.] and then, on the 3d and 4th, Sherman was in motion, trying to catch the enemy in that rough country on the border of the Etowah. On the 2d I had sent a division to make a strong reconnoissance eastward to Flat Rock, and a brigade to Stone Mountain to make sure that no enemy was near us in that direction, [Footnote: Id., p. 33.] and on its return we followed the rest of the army northward, Slocum's corps remaining in garrison at Atlanta, as before mentioned.

There had been continuous heavy rains, and all the rivers were swollen, which retarded Hood's movements as well as ours; but he showed commendable prudence, did not advance with his main body beyond Dallas, and operated by detachments on the railway, which he broke near Ackworth, but did no serious damage. On the 5th Corse and Tourtelotte made their fine defence of the position at Allatoona against French's division, and on the 6th my reconnoissance proved that Hood had concentrated again in the neighborhood of Dallas. The two most important bridges on the railroad were now safe, those crossing the Chattahoochee and the Etowah; and as Forrest had failed to reach the line from Chattanooga to Nashville, Hood's plan of campaign had failed and Sherman's communications were unbroken. Unwilling to confess defeat, Hood now determined to make a considerable circuit westward, cross the Coosa below Rome and march by the Chattooga valley upon Resaca, where the bridge over the Oostanaula was next in importance to that at Allatoona. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 804.] As the enemy's first movement from Dallas was westward, Sherman had to look for information as to his further course. Strengthening the garrison at Rome, he waited at Allatoona for news, discussing with General Grant by telegraph his own plan of marching upon Savannah if Hood moved far westward. The latter repeated to his government his purpose to follow Sherman if he did so. [Footnote: Ibid.] The storms and floods had done much more damage than Hood, several of the large bridges being injured and smaller ones carried away.

At Allatoona Sherman's headquarters were close to my own, and he opened to me his views of the situation. He did not propose to leave the railway line to follow Hood far; but if the opportunity offered to fight him near the line, he would seize it. If Hood entered Tennessee near the Georgia line, he would follow and destroy him; but he was already confident that his enemy would not dare do this, and pointed to Muscle Shoals as the nearest point at which he was likely to cross the Tennessee River. He hoped that General Grant would consent, in this case, to his own march on Savannah, and promised to lead Hood a lively chase if the latter turned back to follow him. Once a new base on the sea was reached, he would turn upon and crush his opponent.

His plan had a personal interest for myself, for as we were out of communication with General Schofield and might march southward any day, he thought it probable that he should separate the Twenty-third Corps from the Department of the Ohio and take it with him, making my command of it permanent. He assumed that Schofield would prefer to remain in the higher position of department commander, rather than leave it for the field command of the corps, which was a good deal weakened by the hard service of the summer.

From the 10th to the 13th of October the army moved in echelon by short marches to Rome, and on the date last named I was ordered to push a reconnoissance with the corps and General Kenner Garrard's division of cavalry down the Coosa far enough to settle the question where Hood had gone. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 230.] We started early and made thirteen miles in the forenoon, routing the enemy's cavalry holding that road and capturing two cannon. It was definitely learned that Hood had taken up the pontoon bridge and gone north. [Footnote:Id., p. 250.] Meantime the enemy had appeared at Resaca, and as soon as it was certain that they were in force Sherman put everything in rapid motion in that direction. He had warned Thomas on the 11th, and directed him to reinforce Chattanooga and Bridgeport. [Footnote: Id., p. 251.] There was again a chance that Hood might be caught between the forces. He had approached Resaca from the west, by the north bank of the Oostanaula, on the 12th, but his summons of the place being defied, he did not assault, but after some threatening demonstrations marched north to Dalton. He plainly felt that he had no time to spare, but it was just as plain that in his haste he was accomplishing nothing.

My march down the Coosa had put me in the rear on the movement north from Rome. I reached Resaca on the 15th, in the early afternoon, having received authority from Sherman to pass the trains and push forward. [Footnote: Id., p. 294.] The Army of the Cumberland had followed Hood to Dalton and Buzzard Roost, the Army of the Tennessee had driven his cavalry out of Snake Creek Gap and occupied it, and we were halted at Resaca to support either. General Schofield had reached Chattanooga on the 13th, and was given command of all troops in that vicinity by General Thomas, who was at Nashville. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 253.] Schofield had in hand the two divisions which had been sent back from Atlanta a fortnight before, besides the garrison; and other troops were on the way to him from Nashville. But communication with Sherman was interrupted, and Hood had better knowledge of the full situation. Learning that Chattanooga was held strongly, Hood marched from Buzzard Roost by way of Villanow over Taylor's Ridge into the Chattooga valley, up which he had just come. Prisoners told us that his army was out of provisions, as they had failed in the hope of capturing depots of stores. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 791.] He must get back within reach of his own depots. Gadsden had been made a temporary base, and he made haste to reach the valley of the Coosa, in which it lay.

Sherman had wished that the rumor would turn out to be true which gave the neighborhood of Bridgeport as the place at which Hood would enter Tennessee; [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. pp. 296, 312.] but if he did so anywhere from Guntersville to Chattanooga, it would be possible to head him off by General Thomas's forces whilst our principal army closed in upon him from the rear. During the 16th Snake Creek Gap was cleared of the timber blockade which Hood had made to delay our chase, and my corps reached Villanow. The Army of the Tennessee was at Ships Gap, and that of the Cumberland in close support. We here learned definitely that Stewart's corps of Hood's army had marched southward from Villanow to Subligna on the east side of Taylor's Ridge, and the main body from Lafayette to Summerville on the west side. [Footnote:Id., pp. 310, 311.]

After a day spent in reconnoissances and renewal of communications with Chattanooga and Nashville, we marched again on the 18th, Sherman leading the main army from Lafayette southward, whilst he ordered me to march from Villanow by way of Subligna to Gover's (or Mattox's) Gap, and thence to Summerville, following the enemy's corps which had gone that way. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 325.] We reached Subligna at noon, driving vedettes and patrols of the enemy's cavalry as we advanced. From Subligna I sent Major Wells of my staff with a regiment over the mountain by a bridle path, to inform General Sherman of our progress. He had an unexpectedly long and rough march, but reported as ordered. [Footnote: Id., p. 351.] We continued the march to Gover's Gap, drove away a cavalry rear-guard, and repaired the road which ran along a bench cut in the precipitous hillside. An easy way of communication with Sherman in the Chattooga valley was thus opened, after a day's march of twenty-two miles. General Kenner Garrard with his cavalry had followed a parallel valley further east, toward Dirt-town, and joined me at Gover's Gap soon after my arrival there. We now marched through Melville to Gaylesville, where the army was concentrated on the 20th. The Twenty-third Corps was placed in advance, near Blue Pond, where a bridge over the Chattooga was to be rebuilt, and one division was sent to Cedar Bluff, a pretty village on the Coosa, where it covered the main road down the valley from Rome to Gadsden. I made a reconnoissance to Center, over the Gadsden road, and learned definitely that the whole army of Hood was at Gadsden. [Footnote: Id., pp. 346, 357, 359, 361, 364, 369. 376, 399, 423.]

Sherman's wish that Hood would cross the Tennessee near Stevenson was very sincere. He approved the movement by Schofield to occupy Trenton with the two divisions still under his command, but he disapproved the directions given by Thomas to place troops at Caperton's Ferry, which was on the direct road to Stevenson. He wanted that door left open till Hood should have part, at least, of his army over the Tennessee River. [Footnote: Id., p. 335.] He felt so sure, however, that Hood would not fall into such a trap, that his dispatches reiterate the opinion that if the enemy crossed the river at all, it would be west of Huntsville or at Muscle Shoals. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 333, 357, 395.] He was turning his whole mind to the March to the Sea, and studying the contingencies which it involved. In a long dispatch to Halleck on the 19th [Footnote: Id., pp. 357-358.] he had mapped out his general scheme, and gave his reasons why he must have alternates in his choice of objectives, though his real aim would be Savannah. He therefore named, as the points where the Navy should watch for him, Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, and Mobile, saying, "I will turn up somewhere." On the 22d, writing to General Grant, he reviewed the ground and the effect which it would have on the Confederacy when the Georgia railroads were destroyed and he should "bring up with 60,000 men on the seashore about Savannah or Charleston," concluding, "I think this far better than defending a long line of railroad." [Footnote: Id., p. 395.] At the outset Thomas had advised Sherman, in view of the fact that General Grant had not yet been able to carry out his plan to take southern seaports as a preliminary to an advance beyond Atlanta, to "adopt Grant's idea of turning Wilson loose rather than undertake the plan of a march with the whole force through Georgia to the sea." [Footnote: Id., p. 334.] General James H. Wilson had been sent from Grant's army to be chief of cavalry with Sherman, and Thomas's suggestion was that until Grant's part of the general plan should be accomplished, activity should be limited to the defence of the territory already occupied, except as cavalry raids might harry the Confederate country. But Sherman answered, "To pursue Hood is folly, for he can twist and turn like a fox and wear out any army in pursuit. To continue to occupy long lines of railroad simply exposes our small detachments to be picked up in detail and forces me to make countermarches to protect lines of communication. I know I am right in this, and shall proceed to its maturity." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 378.] He set to work to organize the two armies in such force that Thomas should feel content with his means of meeting Hood if the latter should not turn back after the Georgia column.

General Schofield had been feeling his way southward with Wagner's and Morgan's divisions, and on the 19th Sherman ordered him to move by the most direct route to Alpine, overtaking the column which was marching on the west side of the Chattooga valley, as I was doing on the east. Sherman added the direction to keep the command as it was till they should meet in person. [Footnote:Id., p. 366.] This had reference to his purposes in regard to myself and the Twenty-third Corps, which have been mentioned.

On the 21st Schofield's column reached Alpine, and he rode forward to Sherman's headquarters at Gaylesville. I had gone up from my own headquarters to make some report to Sherman, and was with him when Schofield arrived. Our greeting was a warm one. The present situation and what had occurred since the parting at Atlanta was of course the first topic of conversation, and I had the keen pleasure of hearing Sherman praise the handling of the corps during the past months in much stronger terms than he had used to me alone. Then followed the forecast of the future. Sherman put strongly his belief that Hood would not cross the Tennessee above the Shoals, and his purpose to march to Savannah as soon as the enemy should be definitely committed to a movement across Alabama. He then touched upon the details of organization, and referring to the fact that the corps was weak in numbers and that it would be perhaps unpleasant for Schofield to leave the command of his department for an indefinite period, suggested that he should consent to the temporary absence of the corps. Schofield very promptly replied that he should prefer almost any alternative to the mere administrative work of the department and its garrisons in East Tennessee and Kentucky. He said that if Hood should not follow the southern movement, but should turn his whole force upon Thomas with desperate purpose to drive him out of Tennessee, another veteran corps, though a small one, might make all the difference between defeat and victory. Sherman replied that he would consider the whole matter carefully and adjourned the discussion, requesting that Schofield should confer fully with me.

We continued the conference at the corps headquarters, and I agreed with General Schofield that no military duty was so little attractive as the perplexing semi-political administration at the rear, adding that till the war ended I desired to be with the biggest and most active column in the west. I frankly said that it was this consideration that made with me the great attraction of the arrangement Sherman had suggested. Schofield expressed the strong conviction that Hood would not follow Sherman, and that in middle Tennessee the real fighting must be done. He had no idea of putting the corps in garrison anywhere, but felt sure that Thomas must concentrate everything he might have for most active field work, and that in strictest military sense our task, if we were there, would be not less important or less honorable than that of our comrades who marched eastward. It would, besides, give us the opportunity to fill up the corps with the new regiments that were coming forward, when otherwise, with the expiration of the term of some we had and the casualties of a new campaign, we should probably find it reduced to a single division. Schofield's clearly expressed purpose to seek the most active field work with Thomas in a campaign against Hood's army if we went back to middle Tennessee brought me to agreement with his views, and I promised to support them in my next interview with General Sherman, as I did. I still look back with pleasure to this incident as proof of the hearty comradeship between Sherman and his subordinates, which continued to be shown toward me by both him and Schofield to the end. [Footnote: My memory is supported, in this matter, by home letters written at the time.]

Sherman postponed his decision till he was quite sure what course Hood would take, for the latter was concentrating his army at Gadsden and having a conference with Beauregard on the day of the interviews on our side which I have narrated. After agreeing with his immediate superior upon the plan of entering Tennessee at or near Guntersville, Hood started on the morning of the 22d, but in accordance with confidential directions he gave his corps commanders, his column changed direction at Benettsville, taking the Decatur road, which there branched to the left and forced the marching westward. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 831, 835, 81, 843.] The gloss which he afterward put on the matter was that he changed his plan in consequence of information that Forrest could not join him as he expected. [Footnote: Advance and Retreat, p. 20.] This does not bear examination. Forrest was, under the orders of General Taylor, preparing a raid into western Tennessee to bring out all the supplies that country contained and to break up the railway to Memphis, sending the iron to repair the road in the vicinity of Tuscumbia, where the base for the new operations in middle Tennessee would be. On the 20th Hood had himself informed Taylor of his purpose to cross at Guntersville, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 835.] and Wheeler's cavalry was relied upon to cover the movement till middle Tennessee should be reached. [Footnote: Id., p. 845.] On the 22d Taylor was directed to have Forrest open communication with Hood "by letter or otherwise," and act for the time under his orders, [Footnote: Ibid.] but no immediate interference with what Forrest was doing in western Tennessee was indicated. The only reasonable interpretation of Hood's conduct is that when he faced the consequences of a movement to Guntersville with Sherman at Gaylesville ready to close the cul de sac behind him, even his audacity shrunk from the plan, and he proved the truth of Sherman's prediction that he would not dare to do it. Beauregard explicitly says that the change in Hood's plan was made after leaving Gadsden, where it had been definitely arranged. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 662.]

On our side several days were spent in watchful observation. I returned to my division, Schofield resumed the command of the Army of the Ohio, and the divisions he had led from Chattanooga joined the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps, to which they belonged. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 401, 402.] Thomas was informed that the Fourth Corps would be sent back to him with about 5000 men from other commands who were not quite in condition for the March to the Sea, but who would be fit for post garrison. [Footnote: Id., p. 408.] Sherman's recommendations for promotions earned in the past campaigns were made on the 24th, in urgent and explicit terms, endorsing the approval expressed by the separate army commanders, and saying that if the law did not allow the addition to the number of general officers, he believed that "the exigencies of the country would warrant the muster out of the same number of generals now on the list that have not done service in the past year." We who were thus recommended thought we had the right to feel that the terms of approval used by such a commander gave a military standing hardly less than the actual gift of a grade from the government. [Footnote: Id., p. 413. See Appendix C for the language used by Sherman, and for the recommendation of General Schofield.]

On the 25th reports came from the light-draft gunboats patrolling the Tennessee River that the enemy was making demonstrations at several points below Guntersville, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 436.] and next day Sherman ordered the Fourth Corps to march to Chattanooga and report to General Thomas. He also issued his order that "in the event of military movements or the accidents of war separating him from his military division," Thomas should "exercise command over all troops and garrisons not absolutely in the presence of the general-in-chief." [Footnote: Id., p. 442.] He pointed out to Thomas that Chattanooga and Decatur were the points to be held "to the death;" that it would not be wise to move into West Tennessee unless he knew that the enemy had followed south, as he thought they would do when they found him starting from Atlanta; and that when Thomas was ready for aggressive movements, his line of operations should be against Selma. [Footnote: Id., pp. 448, 449.]

On the 27th of October Schofield wrote to Sherman, giving details of the reduction in numbers of the divisions of the corps now in the field, and renewing his urgency for some arrangement to increase its force. [Footnote: Id., p. 468.] The news from the west now made it certain that Hood was before Decatur, and Sherman issued orders on the 28th for the army to march to Rome. His purpose in this was double. He would try the effect on the enemy of the apparent start toward the east, whilst he concentrated his army on the railroad which was now repaired and which gave him the means of rapidly reinforcing General Thomas to any extent that might become necessary. He informed Halleck that he had sent the Fourth Corps back and that he might send ours also, though he still thought it probable that his movement on Macon would make Hood "let go." He urged the hastening of reinforcements to Thomas. Rosecrans promised to send General A. J. Smith with his two divisions back from Missouri, and Sherman only waited to get his sick and wounded to the rear, and to accumulate at Atlanta the supplies he reckoned it necessary to take with him. His determination to send us back to join the Fourth Corps was shown by his confidential dispatch to Colonel Beckwith, his chief commissary, that he might reduce his estimates for rations to enough for 50,000 men to go south. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 476, 477.]

Our orders to march came at noon, and we started at once, with the information that from Rome we should go back to Tennessee. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 793.] In the evening of the same day Sherman definitely advised Thomas of his decision to send Schofield to him, and the outline of the arrangements for the new campaign was completed. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 484.] General R. S. Granger went with reinforcements to the aid of Colonel Doolittle, who commanded the post at Decatur, and that place was held against Hood, who was too short of supplies to delay long. He hastened on to Tuscumbia, where his new base was established, and where he halted to collect the means for the invasion of Tennessee, near the great bend of the river. He first gave orders to lay his pontoons at Bainbridge, at the foot of Muscle Shoals, the place named by Sherman as his probable crossing; but the lack of supplies and the desire for better preparation prevented, and he moved on, reaching Tuscumbia on the 30th. [Footnote: Id., p. 866.]

Our march to Rome was lengthened by our taking the right, leaving the more direct roads for other parts of the army. We crossed the Coosa, following the road to Jacksonville for five miles, and then turned east on the so-called river road. This, however, proved impassable, and, next morning, we were obliged to retrace our steps to the Jacksonville road, and going an hour's march on it reach the road from Centre to Cave Spring, which we followed to the latter place, which takes its name from a remarkable spring breaking out beneath a mountain, a considerable brook at once. Some sixty feet up the hill-side is the mouth of a cave at the bottom of which is the underground stream, which finds its way out by another fissure. The village was the rendezvous where Beauregard overtook Hood on the evening of the 9th of October, and held their first consultation in regard to the campaign. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. i. p. 796.] It was a pretty place which had not suffered the ravages of war; the situation was a lovely one, and there were there a public Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and some other public buildings. Our countermarch had lengthened the day's journey to twenty-two miles.

On the 30th my division marched to Rome and encamped on the Calhoun road, two or three miles northeast of the town. At Rome I made my farewell visit to General Sherman at his headquarters. He talked freely of his plans to the group of officers who were present, and in the final hand-shaking with me said that Hood had now put so large a space between them that the March to the Sea could not be interfered with, and that whatever hard fighting was to come in the campaign would fall to the lot of us who were going back to middle Tennessee. [Footnote: The fullest resume of Sherman's views when on the point of starting is found in his letter to Grant of November eth. Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 658-661.] Our movement northward was through Calhoun and Resaca to Tilton, where we were to take railway trains for Nashville; but the rolling stock was overtasked in the rush of work to complete Sherman's preparations, and we marched on to Dalton. An autumnal rainstorm had come on, and though we had good camping ground, our impatience at the delay made our stay of three or four days at the ruined village anything but pleasant. On the 3d of November I noted in my pocket-diary that it was one of those rainy, gusty days "when the smoke from the camp-fire fills your eyes whichever side of the fire you get." As we had gone northward we met large numbers of officers and men who had been on leave, and who were now hurrying to join their commands. Two of my own staff rejoined us in this way, and a brand-new brass band that had been recruited for Casement's brigade came also, making that command proud as peacocks for a while.

Our stay at Dalton gave me the opportunity in the intervals of the storm to ride out and carefully examine the positions the enemy had held at the beginning of May. In the progress of an active campaign the soldier rarely has an opportunity to make such an examination of fortified positions out of which the enemy has been manoeuvred, and I had eagerly seized every chance to do this interesting and instructive work as we had come back through our lines about Marietta and Allatoona. Here at Dalton Johnston's positions had been plainly impregnable, and I congratulated myself that my division had not been ordered to assault them when we made our reconnoissance in force, before Sherman began the turning movement through Snake Creek Gap.

Whilst waiting for our railway trains we heard of Hood's demonstration at Decatur, and of his repulse and his march toward Florence. We knew that he had not yet crossed the Tennessee, and that our delay was not causing embarrassment to General Thomas at Nashville. I got one of my brigades away on November 6th, and the others on the 7th, going with Casement's, which was the last. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 655, 673.] As we ran into Chattanooga, we were all alert to see the place which had become of such historical importance, for we had advanced into Georgia in the spring by roads far to the east, and I had never visited it. We reached the town just as the sun was setting and the long storm was breaking. My headquarters were in a freight car, and with the side doors slid wide open, we sat on our camp-stools in the doorway watching our progress. Fort Phelps on its isolated hill stood up black and sharp against the western sky, which was gray-clouded, with a long rift, blood red where the sun was breaking through, whilst still further to the left the huge shoulder of Lookout Mountain threw its deep shadows over the landscape. From the other side a fine reach of the Tennessee River opened before us, backed by the mountainous ridges on the north, gleaming in the level sunlight.

We did not leave our train, but after a short delay started again for Nashville. The crowded state of the road made frequent halts necessary, and when day broke we had made only eight miles. As we ran between the high hills, they were in their most gorgeous autumn dress; and, free from care, we enjoyed it all as a holiday outing, calling each other's attention to every new combination of mountain and river, and of changing schemes of brilliant color. It was the Presidential election-day, and in accordance with the provisions of the statutes, we opened the polls in my box car, and the officers and men voted at the halts of the train when they could get to the voting place. Colonel Doolittle of the Eighteenth Michigan, commandant of the post at Decatur, joined us at Stevenson, coming into my car to vote. From him we learned the details of Hood's attempt upon the Decatur post, and got interesting news, throwing light upon the situation before us. At my invitation he remained with us till we reached Nashville, and the acquaintance thus formed led to an arrangement for his temporary service with me after the battle of Franklin. As I wrote home, we voted by steam for "A. Linkum," seeing the end of the war manifestly approaching. The election for Ohio State officers had occurred in October when we were on the march after Hood, and at a noon halt we turned an ambulance into a polling booth in a grove on the banks of the Etowah River, where I voted with one of the Ohio regiments.

Our little October campaign had been a good example of what soldiers regard as pleasant work. There had been constant activity, with no severe fighting, and the weather had been, for the most part, magnificent. The rains had ceased at the end of the first week of the month, and from that time till we halted from our chase on the banks of the Coosa in the edge of Alabama we had a succession of bright, cool days, and comfortable nights. It had been like a hunt for big game on a grand scale, with excitement enough to keep everybody keyed up to a high pitch of physical enjoyment, ready for every call to bodily exertion. The foliage was ripening and changing in the equable autumnal airs without frost, and the results were often very surprising and very beautiful. The gum-tree [Footnote: Liquidambar Styraciflua.] is very common in the open fields of that part of Georgia, and each fine rounded mass had its own special tint, bright crimson, green-bronze, maroon, or pure green; and when a camp-fire was lighted in a grove of such trees the evening effect was a thing to remember for a lifetime. The regimental camps were all alive with diversions of different sorts from the time of the halt at the end of a march till tattoo sounded. Each had its trained pet animals, and the soldiers exhausted their skill and patience in teaching these varied tricks. One regiment had a pair of bull-terrier dogs that played a game which never failed to amuse. At a signal one of the dogs would seize a firebrand by the unburnt end and start off on a run through the camp; the other would follow at speed, trying to trip up the first, to collar him or push him over, and so force him to drop the brand. The second would then grasp it and the chase would be renewed, doubling in and out, over logs, or through a group of lounging men, scattering them right and left, the yelp of the chasing dog accompanying the blazing meteor as it cut odd figures in the darkness, and the shouting laughter of the men encouraging the dogs to new efforts to outdo each other. The intelligence of the dogs in playing the game with apparent recklessness, yet without getting burnt, was something wonderful.

I had myself an interesting experience with a beautiful little creature. Coming one day suddenly into my tent, I surprised a little gold and green lizard on my camp desk. The desk was a small portable one, with lid falling to make the writing-table, set on a trestle, and my appearance scared the little animal into a pigeon-hole, which it took for a way of escape. I sat down on my camp stool in front of the desk, and resumed my writing, watching, also, to see what my prisoner would do. Its little jewel eyes shone in the recess of its prison cell, and soon it cautiously came to the front; but the first move of my hand toward it made it dodge back into the darkness. Two or three times this was done, and I got no nearer to it; so I changed my tactics. I placed my hand against the next pigeon-hole, extending one finger over the occupied one, and waiting in perfect quiet for a few moments, my beauty came slowly forward over the paper files to the mouth of the pigeon-hole near my finger. With great caution and gentleness I stroked its head and it remained quiet. A few more strokes and it seemed pleased and rapidly grew tame. It ceased to be afraid of my motions, and did not try to get away. At intervals, as I sat, the acquaintance was renewed, and the little thing seemed to become fond of me, running about on my papers, climbing my arm to my shoulder, and running back to its home if any one entered the tent. In short, I had followed the example of the private soldiers and had a pet. When we marched I put it on my hat rim as I mounted my horse, thinking it would soon leave me; but it did not. It sat on my hat-crown like a most gorgeous aigrette, or took a little tour around the hat-band or down on my shoulders. I forgot it when busy, but it stayed by, and at the end of a march, when my tent was pitched again and my desk in the usual place, it resumed its home there and thrived on the flies it caught. It was with me for some weeks and became known at headquarters as an attache of the staff. The day we followed Hood westward from Resaca through Snake Creek Gap, I had dismounted, and was talking with General Whitaker, commanding a brigade in the Fourth Corps, whose men with mine were cutting out the timber blockade in the Gap. I had no thought of my lizard, but one of his orderlies caught sight of it on my shoulder. With the common prejudice among the soldiers that the harmless thing was a deadly poisonous reptile, he stood a moment staring and half transfixed, thinking me in deadly peril. Then, with a jump, he struck it off my shoulder with his open hand, and stamped it dead with his heavy boot heel, sure he had saved my life. But when one of my attendants exclaimed reproachfully, "There, you've killed the general's pet," the poor fellow slunk away, the picture of shame and remorse. Pets were sacred by the law of the camp, and he felt and looked as if he were a murderer. No doubt he was also stupefied at the idea that such a thing could be a pet, but in the matter of pets, as in some other things, he bowed to the law, "His not to reason why!"



CHAPTER XLIII

NASHVILLE CAMPAIGN--HOOD'S ADVANCE FROM THE TENNESSEE

Schofield to command the army assembled at Pulaski--Forrest's Tennessee River raid--Schofield at Johnsonville--My division at Thompson's--Hastening reinforcements to Thomas--Columbia--The barrens--Pulaski--Hood delays--Suggests Purdy as a base--He advances from Florence--Our march to Columbia-Thomas's distribution of the forces--Decatur evacuated--Pontoon bridge there--Withdrawing from Columbia--Posts between Nashville and Chattanooga--The cavalry on 29th November--Their loss of touch with the army.

Our railway train reached Nashville in the forenoon of Wednesday the 9th of November, and I at once visited General Schofield to report my arrival and get further orders. He had himself reported to General Thomas by telegraph when we reached Calhoun on the last day of October, and Pulaski, eighty miles south of Nashville, had been given as the rendezvous for our corps with the Fourth. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 538.] Thomas was taking a cheerful view of the situation now that the Twenty-third Corps had been ordered to him, and on the 3d of November, in giving Sherman an outline of the progress of events, said that if Beauregard "does not move before Sunday (6th), I will have Schofield and Stanley together at Pulaski, and he can then move whenever he pleases." [Footnote: Id., p. 618.] Schofield got part of Cooper's division off on Thursday, with arrangements for the rest to follow, and took the railway train himself next day. Thomas's plans then were to send the troops through Nashville without stopping, but he asked Schofield to stop for a short consultation. [Footnote: Id., p. 624.] Without waiting for this, however, he issued his order on Friday, assigning Schofield to command the troops assembling at Pulaski to operate in front of that place. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxiv. pt. iii. p. 638.] This was a graceful act toward an officer of his own grade as a department commander, when as yet it was an open question whether the assignment by the President to command a department and army in the field gave precedence over officers in other organizations, senior in date of commission, but not so assigned. [Footnote: The matter has been decided in the affirmation by the War department and the decision had been transmitted in Halleck's letter to Sherman dated October 4th, but the interruption of communications had prevented its reaching Sherman for some time, and Thomas had not received it when he made the order. For the whole discussion and correspondence, see Id., vol. xxxviii. pt. v. pp. 734, 753, 797; vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 64, 638, 666, 684, 685, 691, 692, 703, 704; vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 959.]

When Schofield reached Nashville on the 5th, he found Thomas busy with a new problem. Forrest had set for him by his raid down the Tennessee valley on the west side. A gunboat had been captured, and demonstrations opposite Johnsonville by the raiders had been followed by the unnecessary destruction of a fleet of transports, three gunboats at the landing, and vast quantities of stores. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxix. pt. i. p. 861, 864, 866.] The place was the terminus of a railway from Nashville to the Tennessee River, and was an intermediate depot of supplies in a low stage of water in the rivers. At other times steamboats could ascend the Cumberland all the way to Nashville. The exaggerated reports of the enemy's force and apparent purpose to cross the river there made Thomas think it wise to modify his plans for the moment, and he ordered Schofield to proceed at once to Johnsonville with the two brigades of the Twenty-third Corps then in hand, Moore's and Gallup's, intending to concentrate the whole corps there as fast as they should come from Georgia. [Footnote:Id., vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 647.]

As soon as Sherman could decipher Thomas's dispatches, he warned the latter of the danger of a false move, as only Forrest's cavalry was down the river, and Hood's army was known to be at Florence. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 647.] When Schofield got to Johnsonville, he soon saw the real state of affairs, and advised Thomas that the two brigades were enough. He instructed General Cooper as to improving the defences of the town, and returned to Nashville on the 7th. Next day he made a hurried visit to Pulaski to examine the situation there, [Footnote: Id., p. 708.] where was now the railway terminus of the line to Decatur, the bridges and trestles about Athens having been destroyed by Forrest in his September raid. He got back to Nashville before day on the 9th, and was ready to meet me on my arrival there. From him I got full information of the situation, and orders to take my division to Columbia, where he expected to join me in two or three days.

Leaving Nashville in the afternoon, we learned on reaching Franklin that a wreck on the railway near Spring Hill obstructed the track, and our trains were halted till the way should be cleared. We had made only twenty miles; the weather had changed again to a cold, drenching rain. Thursday, the 10th, was clear and cold, and whilst waiting for the railway to be open again, I made my first acquaintance with the pretty village on the banks of the Harpeth in which I was to feel a much more lively interest three weeks later. As soon as the railway officials could put the trains in motion we resumed our journey. Reilly's brigade gets to Spring Hill, half-way to Columbia, but the insufficiency of siding at that place makes it impracticable to handle all the trains there, and the rest of us are stopped at Thompson's Station, three miles short. We leave the cars and go into camp so as to release the trains for other work, whilst we organize again for field operations, though our wagons had not reached us. Strickland's brigade of Cooper's division has accompanied us and is attached to my command temporarily. Some five miles north of Columbia there is a break in the railway, and we are delayed till it can be repaired and communication with Columbia fully opened. The two or three days intervening are spent in getting forward horses for the artillery, rations, and advance stores, so as to become again a self-dependent unit of the army. We found the country in this part of Tennessee richer and finer than any we had campaigned in, much more open, with well-tilled farms.

The news we got indicated that Forrest had joined Hood at Florence, and that the enemy was preparing there for a forward movement. I opened communication with the Fourth Corps at Pulaski, and was under orders, to join them whenever an advance of Hood should make it necessary. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 748, 749.] On the 11th Sherman still inclined to the opinion that Beauregard would order Hood to follow him, as soon as his southward march should really begin. "I rather think you will find commotion in his camp in a day or two," he said to Thomas; for his own preparations were now complete, and his communications with the North were to be cut next day. [Footnote:Id., p. 746.] The humorous side of things struck him forcibly, and in giving to Captain Poe, his engineer, directions to destroy the foundries, workshops, and railway buildings at Atlanta, he had added, "Beauregard still lingers about Florence, afraid to invade Tennessee, and I think slightly disgusted because Sherman did not follow him on his fool's errand." [Footnote: Id., p. 680.] The irony fitted Hood better than Beauregard, for the latter had not taken personal direction of the active army; but the relations between the two Confederate generals were very imperfectly known to us, and we naturally assumed that Beauregard was himself responsible for the immediate conduct of the whole.

The progress of the work of reinforcing Thomas was not quite as rapid as it seemed. Grant had sent General Rawlins, his chief of staff, from Petersburg to St. Louis to see that A. J. Smith's corps went promptly forward from Rosecrans's department. Besides the 9000 in Smith's immediate command, 5200 men were collected from posts on the Mississippi and Ohio, and were put in motion toward Nashville. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 684.] Rawlins's report on the 7th, that these were starting, was understood by Thomas to apply to the whole of Smith's force, and he therefore reckoned on their reaching him in a few days. [Footnote: Id., p. 685.] Rawlins in fact expected Smith's own divisions to leave St. Louis on the 10th, but even this was much sooner than they reached the river. The same news was sent to Sherman, and he expressed his joy that these veteran reinforcements were on the way, and his confidence that the enemy was now checkmated. [Footnote:Id., p. 686.] The result was a little over-confidence in all quarters, which probably had its influence in making Thomas less energetic in concentrating the troops available in Tennessee than he would have been had he known that Smith's 9000 would not reach Nashville till the last day of the month. [Footnote: See "Franklin and Nashville," pp. 132 et seq.; "Battle of Franklin," pp. 40, 41.]

On the 13th I marched to Columbia, and Schofield went in person to Pulaski, where he assumed command. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt iii. pp. 764, 768.] Wooden pontoons were sent the same day to Columbia for the crossing of the Duck River there, and the bridge was completed at ten o'clock in the evening. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 795.] As the river was too high to ford, we had encamped on the north side, in the tongue made by the horse-shoe bend to the southward. We occupied the fine open wood on rolling ground, and made ourselves as well acquainted with the village and surrounding country as time would allow. Columbia, on the south bank of the river, had been a centre of education and refinement, and several college buildings were there, surrounded by ample groves. The neighborhood was the home of the Polks and the Pillows and other people of national reputation, whose ample estates lay on the roads diverging from the town. Between the village and the railway bridge below the place was an isolated hill on which was an enclosed redoubt, commanding the crossing. It was a strong position when connected with sufficient forces near by, but too small and too detached to have much independent value.

Leaving Strickland's brigade as a garrison for the town, the rest of my command marched next morning toward Pulaski, reaching Lynnville, eighteen miles south of the river, where a road from Lawrenceburg comes into the turnpike. I was pretty strong in artillery, having five batteries, two of which properly belonged to the second division. Ten miles south of Columbia we left the open country and entered a hilly, forest-covered region, with cultivation only in the narrow valleys of small streams. This high water-shed between the Duck River and the Elk extends nearly all the way from the plateau of the Cumberland westward to the Tennessee River, where it has made its great bend to the north. It is known as the "barns" (barrens), and is desolate enough. In many places one may travel for miles without seeing a house. Wood-chopping and charcoal-burning for smelting furnaces seemed to be the principal industry.

On the 15th we continued our march in a heavy, cold rain to Pigeon Creek, two miles north of Pulaski, making sixteen miles. General Schofield met me there, and we examined the country westward some three miles, our reconnoissance determining him to keep the division at the turnpike crossing of the creek, where we accordingly encamped. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 357.] It had been confidently expected that Hood would march northward by the time we could reach Pulaski, but he delayed, and it was a week later before he really opened his new campaign. Various things combined to give plausible reasons for his delay. He could not get the supply of stores which he needed. The gap in his railroad from Cherokee to Tuscumbia was not rebuilt. The weather was continuously cold with heavy rains, and the roads going from bad to worse. The truth, no doubt, was that Sherman's march southward had a most perplexing effect, raising portentous problems as to its result upon the Confederacy, and reducing Hood's own campaign to a secondary place in the general progress of the war. Torn by doubts, he seemed willing to find excuses for postponing action, hoping to see clearer light on the future before committing himself to a decisive movement. An interesting item in the discussion between the Confederate generals was that Hood suggested Purdy as a better base than Tuscumbia, and proposed to abandon the work of rebuilding the railroad near that place. Purdy was some twenty-five miles north of Corinth on the Mobile and Ohio Railway, and not far from the old battlefield of Shiloh. Its landing-place on the Tennessee River was nearly opposite Savannah, and it was there that Grant had stopped his steamboat for a conference with General Lew Wallace on his way to Pittsburg Landing the morning of the great battle. It is probable that Hood thought it advantageous to take a line by which he might avoid the risk of expeditions from Decatur, and could more safely turn Schofield's position at Pulaski, by operating further from our line of railroad and making it necessary for us either to retire rapidly toward Nashville, or meet him so far from our supply line as to be dependent, like himself, on wagon transportation. Beauregard approved the change of base if made after the first stage of the campaign should be complete, and planned a scheme of floating booms armed with torpedoes to protect the pontoon bridge when it should be laid there. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 900, 905; vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 1210.] The road from Savannah through Waynesborough to Columbia was a turnpike, and would be safer for wagon trains than that from Florence, because so much further from posts on our railway. It would also be a better line of retreat in case of disaster. The plan was not tried, because the withdrawal of our forces from Decatur and Pulaski removed the dangers which Hood apprehended, and made his communications secure. The rains raised the river so much that the bridge laid at Florence was no longer protected by its situation between Muscle Shoals above and Colbert Shoals below, and the Confederates had reason to fear that it would be destroyed by gunboats coming up the river. The navy had been unfortunate in the destruction of gunboats at Johnsonville, but Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee had been sent to take command of the river fleets co-operating with Thomas, and was planning active work with heavier vessels. [Footnote: Id., vol. xxxix. pt. iii. p. 734.]

On the 14th the river had risen eighteen feet at Florence, and Hood's bridge was with great difficulty kept in its place. [Footnote: Id., vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 887.] The same day General Wheeler informed him of Sherman's concentration at Atlanta, the destruction of the railroad above, and the strong rumors of the march on Augusta and Savannah. [Footnote: Id., p. 1206.] Forrest had not yet joined Hood, but did so in two days. Beauregard heard, through Taylor, of the movement of reinforcements to Thomas from Memphis and below, as well as of A. J. Smith's from St. Louis. [Footnote: Id., pp. 1208-1209.] On the 17th he got authentic news of Sherman's start from Atlanta, and ordered Hood to "take the offensive at the earliest practicable moment, and deal the enemy rapid and vigorous blows, striking him while thus dispersed, and by this means to distract Sherman's advance into Georgia." Hood replied that he had only one third of the quantity of rations accumulated which he needed for beginning the campaign. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 1215.] Beauregard himself left Tuscumbia for Montgomery and Macon, giving Hood the choice either to send part of his troops to Georgia or to take the offensive immediately. Under this spur Hood gave orders for an advance on the 19th, but there was still some cause of delay, and Beauregard reiterated, on the 20th, the peremptory order to "push an active offensive immediately." Next day all were in motion, and Hood issued a brief address to his troops, saying, "You march to-day to redeem by your valor and your arms one of the fairest portions of our Confederacy." [Footnote:Id., pp. 1220, 1225,1226,1236.]

During the week we were at Pulaski the rain had made our camp anything but a pleasant one, yet, as we were daily in expectation of Hood's advance, we could do nothing to improve our shelter or the means of warming our tents. The forests were near enough to furnish us the fuel for rousing camp-fires, and we made the most of them. At night I fastened back the flaps of my tent, and a blazing pile of logs threw in heat enough to temper the cold, and one slept sweetly in the fresh air as long as the wind was in the right direction. The day Hood advanced the rain changed to snow, driving in flurries and squalls all day. Marching orders for the 22d came in the evening, and we prepared for an early start to Lynnville, for the enemy was making for Columbia through Lawrenceburg, and we must anticipate him. The night was a freezing one, the mud was frozen stiff on the surface in the morning, making the worst possible marching for the infantry, while the artillery and horses broke through the crust at every step. Our only consolation was in the reflection that it was as bad for Hood as for us. By getting off at break of day my division reached Lynnville by noon, and took position on the north and west of the village. Wagner's division of the Fourth Corps followed and reported to me. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 974, 985.] I gave them positions on the south and west. Schofield remained another day at Pulaski with two divisions of the Fourth Corps, but joined me at noon of the 23d, and under his orders I marched my division ten miles further north to the crossing of the road from Mount Pleasant to Shelbyville. Starting at three, we forced the pace a little, and went into position at six in the twilight. [Footnote:Id., pp. 357, 998.] The rest was a short one, for we were off again at four in the morning, hastening the march for Columbia in the cold and thick darkness. Schofield had learned in the night that the cavalry on the Lawrenceburg road had been driven back to Mount Pleasant, and that the advance of Hood's infantry was at the former place. [Footnote: Id., p. 989.] There was no time to lose if we were to reach Columbia in time to cover a concentration there. At the two-mile post south of the town a cross-road turns westward, leading into the Mount Pleasant turnpike where it crosses Bigby Creek, three miles out from Duck River. I turned the head of column upon this road, and reached the turnpike just in time to interpose between Capron's brigade of cavalry retreating into Columbia and the Confederates under Forrest who were sharply following. The rest of our horse were covering the flank of the Fourth Corps, which was on the march from Lynnville. It was close work, all round. My men deployed at double-quick along the bank of the creek, and after a brisk skirmish Forrest withdrew out of range. The head of the Fourth Corps column came up about eleven o'clock, having left Lynnville at three. [Footnote: Id., pp. 1017, 1018, 1020, 1021.] We naturally supposed Hood's infantry to be in close support of the cavalry, but they were still at Lawrenceburg, and learning that Forrest had been foiled in the effort to take Columbia, did not advance beyond Mount Pleasant till the 26th, though the cavalry made a vigorous reconnoissance on the 25th, giving us another lively skirmish in which my division had some fifteen casualties. My headquarters' tents were pitched in the grounds of Mrs. Martin, a member of the Polk family.

At Columbia we found General Ruger in command when we arrived. He had been transferred from the Twentieth Corps, and ordered to ours at the time we left Georgia, and Schofield had assigned him to the second division. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxix. pt. iii. pp. 661, 682, 700, 748.] He joined the two brigades at Johnsonville, but at Schofield's request Thomas ordered him on the 20th to bring one brigade (Moore's) to Columbia, where Strickland's of the same division already was. The railroad from Johnsonville was broken by some raiders on the 21st, so that Ruger was delayed, and only reached Columbia himself in the afternoon of the 23d. Moore's brigade did not arrive till half-past two o'clock of the morning of the 24th. Under Thomas's orders he at once, upon his arrival, sent two regiments of Strickland's brigade down Duck River to Williamsport and Centreville to hold crossings there. It thus happened that Strickland was left with only his own regiment (Fiftieth Ohio), till, some new reinforcements coming forward, other regiments were temporarily assigned to him. [Footnote:Id., vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 378, 955, 985, 999.] Until he reached Columbia, therefore, Schofield did not know that Strickland had been reinforced, and we all supposed that our safety depended on my getting there before the enemy.

Thomas also ordered General Cooper to march from Johnsonville on the 24th, with his own brigade, direct to Centerville and Beard's Ferry, some fifty miles. There he would be in communication with the two regiments sent down from Columbia to Williamsport, and he was put in command of the whole. He was thirty miles from our principal column, and posted his troops to observe the crossings through some fifteen miles of the river's course. He arrived at Beard's Ferry on the evening of the 28th, and was there only a day and a half, when our retreat to Franklin made it necessary for him also to fall back. He was beset by guerilla parties, so that he was almost without communication with his commanders, and being thrown on his own resources, made his way back to Nashville with a series of adventures. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 370.] Ruger's division was thus deprived of half its veteran troops at the battle of Franklin.

It must be noted also that it was not till the 24th that the troops at Decatur and Huntsville were ordered back, the withdrawal being made on the 25th. General R. S. Granger's old troops were then placed at Stevenson, and those recently recruited were sent to Murfreesborough.

Granger reported that the public property, except some forage, had been removed; but by what seems to have been a misunderstanding with the naval officers about convoying transports, the pontoon bridge was only detached at its southern end, and was neither taken up stream nor destroyed. It swung with the current against the northern shore, and proved of great use to Hood in his retreat a month later. [Footnote: Id., pp. 1003, 1027, 1046. See also "Franklin and Nashville," p. 125.] The continued hope that A. J. Smith's corps would arrive in time to reach Pulaski or Columbia before we should have to retreat counted for much, no doubt, in Thomas's postponement of decisive action; but it can hardly be disputed that the true military course would have been to strip his garrisons to the bone immediately after Sherman marched southward, concentrate at Pulaski a force superior to Hood's, and give him battle if he dared to advance north from Florence. [Footnote: For the forces on both sides in Tennessee, see Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 52-54, 678-679; "Franklin and Nashville," pp. 132-136; "The Battle of Franklin," pp. 9, 208. I discussed the same subject in "The Nation" for Nov. 9, 1893, p. 352.]

As it was too late for concentration at Duck River or south of it, Schofield was limited to a careful defensive, though he was willing to receive Hood's attack upon our lines. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 1017.] The latter, however, did no more than keep up a combat of skirmish lines, whilst he looked for ways to turn the position. Schofield, on his part, prepared a short interior line to be held by part of his troops when it was time to cross the river with the rest. In the night of the 25th this movement was made, and for a couple of days more our forces were divided, part holding the short line on the south side, and the greater portion encamped in the bend on the north bank, closely watching the development of the enemy's evident purpose to cross some miles above us. [Footnote:Id., pp. 1039, 1086-1091.]

The crossing of the river had been arranged for the early evening, the Fourth Corps moving first into the short line on the south of the river; and when this was done, I was to march two brigades of my division through the lines and across the river to the north bank by the pontoon bridge. There were delays in the change of position by the Fourth Corps, and it was past midnight when I was notified that they were in place and commenced my own movement. At that time a rain-storm had set in which made our whole operation uncomfortable in the wet and darkness, but especially the seeking a bivouac for the troops after we got over the river. We halted the men and parked the trains about a mile from the bridge at three o'clock. [Footnote:Id., p. 358.] I had a tent roughly pitched, and got a little sleep, but was roused at daybreak by musket firing, which sounded as if it were right among us. I sprang up with the feeling that I had been caught napping in a double sense; but a little examination showed that the enemy's pickets and our own were skirmishing on the other side of the river. The Confederates had pushed in a reconnoissance to find out what we had been at, and in the damp air the sound of the firing on the opposite bank where the flank of our new line rested was so loud and seemed so close that it had deceived me.

The remainder of our little army was brought over in the night of the 27th, and on the 28th Forrest's cavalry was over the upper fords of the river, pushing back our mounted troops and covering the laying of a pontoon bridge at Davis's ford, five or six miles above Columbia, where Hood's principal column of infantry crossed next day.

In the night of the 27th it occurred to General Thomas that Hood's advance left the bridge at Florence open to an attack, and on the next day he sent an officer to General Steedman, commanding at Chattanooga, with the suggestion that the latter should throw his force of 5000 men against Tuscumbia and destroy Hood's crossing of the Tennessee. Steedman was to use the railroad to Decatur, taking along the pontoons which Thomas supposed had been carried to Chattanooga from Decatur two days before, and relaying that crossing for the purposes of the expedition. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 1100, 1125, 1126.] There seems to have been hesitation in letting Thomas know that the Decatur pontoons had not been brought away, and Steedman said he would take his infantry by rail, send his cavalry by steamboat transports, and use these boats to cross the troops instead of pontoons. On further reflection, however, Thomas found that Hood's movement on the 28th to turn Schofield's left made the plan too adventurous, and on the 29th he revoked the order, directing Steedman to take his men to Cowan. Strong posts were thus established at Murfreesborough, Stevenson, and Cowan on the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga, under the impression which Thomas retained till after the battle of Franklin, that Hood would not advance on Nashville, but would march toward one of the three places named. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 1159, 1160.]

A concentration in force at Decatur two weeks earlier, and an advance toward Tuscumbia, would have had much to recommend it, and it would perhaps have been the surest way to defend the line of the Tennessee; but it was now too late for that, as it was also too late to affect Hood's determination to seek an early battle with Schofield. Despite his hesitation to leave Florence and Tuscumbia, and his plea that his supplies were insufficient, Hood had found on reaching Mount Pleasant that he could live on the country, and telegraphed Beauregard that he found food enough and anticipated no further trouble on that score,--a confession that he might have advanced at the beginning of the month. [Footnote: Id., pp. 1245, 1254.] If Steedman had made the expedition, therefore, it would not have brought Hood back, and would only have wasted a strong division in a useless collateral operation. The scattering of 20,000 men along the Chattanooga route, "in small packages" (to use Napoleon's phrase), cannot be regarded as sound, though Steedman was more available at Cowan than at Chattanooga, and he got to Nashville "by the skin of his teeth" when the battle of Franklin proved that the enemy was aiming at that place, and made Thomas see the desirability of greater concentration. [Footnote: Thomas's order to Steedman to bring his troops from Cowan to Nashville was dated at 5.35 P. M. of the 30th, and his forces arrived, part on the 1st and part on the 2d of December, the last of the trains being attacked by the enemy five miles out of Nashville. Id., pp. 503, 1190.] He then ordered Steedman to bring his division to Nashville; but Rousseau, with Milroy's and Granger's commands, were still left at Murfreesborough and beyond. [Footnote: Id., p. 1153.]

I have already told the story of the march to Franklin, and the fierce battle at that place, in the Scribner Series, "March to the Sea; Franklin and Nashville," and in "The Battle of Franklin," and will not repeat it here. The effect of the belief that Hood would march eastward toward Murfreesborough had, however, so strong an influence upon General Wilson, the cavalry commander, that it is instructive to trace it in his dispatches. It seems to have been the cause of the loss of touch with our infantry during that important movement.

In the middle of the night of the 28th Wilson had reason to think that two divisions (Buford's and Jackson's) of Forrest's cavalry were north of Duck River upon the Lewisburg and Franklin turnpike, about Rally Hill, the rest of Hood's army on the Columbia and Shelbyville road in rear. They had driven our own horse away from the river, and the best Wilson had been able to do was to concentrate his troops about Hurt's Cross-roads, some miles further north on the same road. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 1143.] His communication with Schofield was through Spring Hill by a cross-road, and by that route he sent a report at three o'clock in the morning of the 29th. [Footnote: Ibid.] He then had information that the enemy were laying pontoon bridges for the infantry, though the place was not accurately fixed. He thought it very clear that they were aiming for Franklin by the turnpike he was on, and said he would stay on that road and hold them back as much as he could. He indicated Spring Hill or Thompson's Station as the points on the Columbia turnpike where cross-roads would bring Schofield's couriers to him, and said he would try to get no further back than the Ridge meeting-house, due east from Thompson's Station. There he would leave the turnpike and take a still more eastern course toward Nolensville. He closed the dispatch with, "Get back to Franklin without delay, leaving a small force to detain the enemy. The rebels will move by this road toward that point." [Footnote:Ibid.]

These positions will be understood if we note that the Lewisburg and Franklin turnpike is some twelve miles in a direct line east of that from Columbia to Franklin where they cross the river, and that these roads converge toward the last-named place twenty-three miles north. Nolensville is about twelve miles northeast of Franklin and considerably nearer Nashville. As one goes north on the Lewisburg turnpike, after passing Rally Hill and Hurt's Cross-roads, the next important crossing is at Mount Carmel, where the road from Spring Hill to Murfreesboro intersects the turnpike. Three miles still further on, a road from Thompson's Station is crossed at the so-called Ridge meeting-house. All these cross-roads gave the means of regaining touch with Schofield's main column; but the cavalry commander was so dominated by the belief that Forrest was making directly for Nashville by roads still further east, that he proposed neither to join the infantry by the cross-roads, nor to adhere to the converging one leading to Franklin, but would go to Nolensville. The imperative form of his suggestion to his commanding officer to "get back" shows not only the force of this mental preoccupation, but a forgetfulness that Schofield might have other information and be under a necessity of forming other plans for the day's operations to which the cavalry must be subordinate.

The whole of Hood's force had not crossed the river, but two thirds of Lee's corps and nearly all the artillery were still in Columbia, and made their presence known by a vigorous cannonade in the early morning of the 29th. The enemy's infantry was not marching to the Lewisburg turnpike, but was seen making for Spring Hill by roads five miles east of Columbia, and Forrest was in touch with their right flank. Schofield, under orders from Thomas, was obstructing the lower fords of the river, and trying to get orders through to General Cooper, directing him to concentrate his forces and retire from Centerville. The concentration of our cavalry had been so complete that when it took an independent line of retreat it ceased, for the time, to be any efficient part of Schofield's forces, and left him without cover for his flank or means of rapid reconnoissance. For conclusive reasons he held during the day of the 29th the line from Spring Hill to the Duck River; but after ten o'clock in the morning Wilson was wholly out of the game, looking off to the east for Forrest, who had gone west from Hurt's Cross-roads and Mount Carmel to attack our infantry at Spring Hill. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 1144, 753, 769.]

At noon, north of the Ridge church and the road to Thompson's Station, Wilson was still of the opinion that the whole of the enemy's cavalry had gone to Nashville by eastern roads through Peytonsville, Triune, and Nolensville. [Footnote:Id., p. 1144.] At two in the afternoon he repeated the same opinion in a dispatch to Thomas, although he had heard heavy artillery firing in the direction of Spring Hill since eleven o'clock. He warned Thomas to look out for Forrest at Nashville by next day noon, but promised to be there himself before or very soon after he should make his appearance. [Footnote: Id., p. 1146.] At four o'clock he was four miles east of Franklin, still looking toward Nolensville for the enemy, who had "disappeared," and still of the opinion that Forrest had turned his left flank before he left Hurt's Cross-roads in the morning. The heavy firing he had heard all day had, however, awakened solicitude for Schofield. [Footnote: Id., p. 1145.] After nightfall he sent a scout back on the road he had travelled, nearly to the Ridge meeting-house, where was found a cavalry picket of the enemy, and a large camp was said to be discovered near by,--probably the light of the camp-fires at Thompson's Station, where they were still burning when Schofield placed Ruger's division there in the evening. [Footnote: Id., p. 342.] At ten o'clock Wilson had concluded that it was "probable that a part of the enemy's cavalry this afternoon aimed to strike your rear or flank at Thompson's Station," as he wrote to Schofield, and had marched a mile and a half toward Franklin, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 342.] where at the Matthews house his headquarters remained next day, when connection with the army had again been made. Nothing more than scouting parties and patrols from Forrest's column had gone north of Mount Carmel during the day. The adventures of the march had emphasized the danger that a preconceived opinion of probabilities may make an officer misinterpret such real facts as he may learn, or let very slight evidence take the place of thorough knowledge got by bold contact with the enemy. The experience also teaches how sure mischiefs are to follow the forgetfulness of the principle that, in such operations, it is the primary duty of the cavalry to keep in touch with the main body of the army, and where orders from the commanding general may be promptly received and acted on. Schofield, in fact, had no communication with his cavalry during the whole day, and none of Wilson's messages had reached him after the retreat from Hurt's Cross-roads began. [Footnote: Id., p. 343.]



CHAPTER XLIV

NASHVILLE--HOOD'S ARMY ROUTED

Defensive works of Nashville--Hood's lines--The ice blockade--Halleck on remounts for cavalry--Pressing horses and its abuse--The cavalry problem--Changes in organization--Assignment of General Couch--Confederate cavalry at Nashville--Counter-movements of our own--Detailed movements of our right--Difference of recollection between Schofield and Wilson--The field dispatches--Carrying Hood's works--Confederate rout.

At Nashville, when we reached there on the 1st of December, after the battle of Franklin, we were left for a couple of days in bivouac. The city had been covered by a line of interior earthworks, suitable for a moderate garrison, with strong forts on commanding hills. The Cumberland River, in its general course from east to west, partially encloses the town on north and west by one of its bends, and the Chattanooga Railroad runs out of the place not far from the river, passing under St. Cloud Hill, on which was Fort Negley, one of the strongest of the defensive works. Southwest of this, about eight hundred yards, was the Casino block-house on a still higher eminence, and some five hundred yards northwest of the Casino was Fort Morton, on a summit connected with the other. My division was assigned to the line including these forts, which formed the strong southern salient of the original city defences. Other troops of our corps continued the line on my left to the river, and Steedman's division was placed in advance of the left, along Brown's Creek, which was crossed by the Murfreesborough turnpike. From Fort Morton the original works continued northwestwardly, skirting the city to the Hyde's Ferry turnpike. [Footnote: Official Atlas, pl. lxxiii.] But the army now collected needed more room, and instead of turning back at the Casino the line was continued southwest till it reached a prominent hill near the Hillsborough turnpike. There it turned to the northwest, following a succession of hilltops to the river, enclosing the whole of the bend in which the city was. The Fourth Corps occupied the part of the line next to us on the right, and General A. J. Smith's detachment of the Army of the Tennessee was on the right of all. Until the eve of the battle of Nashville the cavalry were concentrated at Edgefield, on the north side of the Cumberland.

Hood had followed us up promptly from Franklin, and established his lines nearly parallel to ours on our centre and left, though they were shorter in extent, and a wide space near the river on our right was only occupied by his cavalry. In my own immediate front, looking down from the Casino block-house, were the Nolensville and Franklin turnpikes with the Alabama Railroad, along which we had retreated. Near my right was the Middle Franklin turnpike, which goes southward, a mile or two distant from the main road, into which it comes again below Brentwood. It is known locally as the Granny White pike. My headquarters were in rear of Fort Morton, at the dwelling of Mrs. Bilbo, a large house with a pillared portico the full height of the front. We had two rooms in the house for our clerical work, and pitched our tents in the dooryard. A short walk along the ridge led to the Casino, from which was a fine outlook southward and eastward.

During the time of the ice blockade from the 9th of December to the 13th, the slopes in front of the lines were a continuous glare of ice, so that movements away from the roads and broken paths could be made only with the greatest difficulty and at a snail's pace. Men and horses were seen falling whenever they attempted to move across country. A man slipping on the hillside had no choice but to sit down and slide to the bottom, and groups of men in the forts and lines found constant entertainment in watching these mishaps. There had been a mingling of snow and sleet with the rain which began on the 8th, and this compacted into a solid ice sheet. On a level country it would have caused much less trouble, but on the hills and rolling country about Nashville manoeuvres were out of the question for nearly a week.

The dissatisfaction of General Grant with the delay in taking the aggressive had begun with the withdrawal from Franklin on the 1st. Objections to waiting for new supplies of cavalry horses were not peculiar to this campaign. The waste of animals had been a constant source of complaint through the whole war. On the 5th Halleck made a report to Grant that 22,000 new cavalry horses had been issued at the posts where Thomas's forces were equipping, since September 20th. This was exclusive of those used in Kentucky or sent to Sherman. "If this number," he said, "without any campaign is already reduced to 10,000 mounted men, as reported by General Wilson, it may be safely assumed that the cavalry of that army will never be mounted, for the destruction of horses in the last two months has there alone been equal to the remounts obtained from the entire west." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 55.] It was on this report that Stanton's famous dispatch was based, "If he waits for Wilson to get ready, Gabriel will be blowing his last horn." [Footnote:Id., p. 84.] Halleck repeated the same in substance to Thomas, adding, "Moreover, you will soon be in the same condition that Rosecrans was last year,--with so many animals that you cannot feed them. Reports already come in of a scarcity of forage." [Footnote: Id., p. 114.] Yet, to remove as far as possible the causes of delay, Grant directed mounted men from Missouri to be sent to Nashville, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 130.] and even the "pressing" of horses in Kentucky was permitted, sure as it was to be abused in practice. This soon brought protests from the leading loyal men of Louisville. Mr. Speed (U. S. Attorney-General) and Mr. Ballard (afterward Judge of the U. S. Courts) telegraphed Mr. Stanton, "Loaded country wagons with produce for market are left in the road; milk-carts, drays, and butchers' wagons are left in the street--their horses seized." [Footnote: Id., p. 139.] Indeed, from the very beginning of the war, the cavalry problem had been an insoluble one. Raw recruits could not be made to take proper care of horses, to groom them, to ride them with judgment, or to save their strength. We campaigned in regions where forage was scarce and where it could not be brought up from the rear. A big cavalry force would starve when not moving, yet exaggerated reports of the enemy's mounted troops made a constant clamor for more. [Footnote: An interesting contribution to the practical discussion of the subject is found in Sherman's letter to General Meigs, Quartermaster-General from Savannah, December 25th, ending with, "If my cavalry cannot remount itself in the country, it may go afoot." (Official Records, vol. xliv. p. 807.) For the discussion of it in Rosecrans's campaign of '63, see ante, chap, xxiii. See also Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. pp. 300, 320.] The attempts to use them in large bodies were rarely successful, and the more modest duties of outpost and patrol in connection with the infantry columns were distasteful. All this knowledge, combined with the special causes of impatience now existing, gave to Grant's dispatches a more and more urgent tone, leading up to the "Delay no longer" of the 11th. [Footnote:Id., vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 70, 97, 143.] To judge fairly the attitude of both Grant and Thomas, this must not be overlooked, whilst we must also remember that the new element of the icy covering of the earth in the immediate vicinity of Nashville was so exceptional that it was not appreciated or fully understood at the East.

The halt at Nashville was the occasion for some temporary changes in the organization of my division. Colonel Henderson had not fully recovered from the ill-health which had interrupted the command of his brigade, and having obtained a leave of absence to go home for a few weeks, the command of this brigade remained with Colonel Stiles. General Reilly also found the need of recuperation and was granted a short leave. It happened that Colonel Doolittle, who had distinguished himself in command of the post at Decatur, had got back from a short absence, and reached Nashville after communications with Murfreesborough were interrupted. Not being able to join his proper command, I was glad to make arrangements to give him temporary service with me and to renew the pleasant acquaintance made on our journey from Georgia. He acted as chief of staff for a few days till Reilly left, and I then assigned him to command Reilly's brigade, where there was no officer of sufficient experience. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 86, 187.]

Another change which occurred was among the general officers, and strongly illustrated the chafing likely to arise under such circumstances. In pursuance of a policy before mentioned, the War Department was bringing pressure to bear upon officers to make them accept any active service suitable to their rank, or resign and leave room for promotions for others, since Congress refused to enlarge the number of general officers. Major-General Darius N. Couch had been, during the war, hitherto connected with the Army of the Potomac, but had drifted out of active service and was "waiting orders." Grant had suggested that he be sent to command the district of Kentucky, relieving Burbridge, whose administration was not satisfactory to the General-in-Chief. [Footnote: Id., pp. 16,28.] But political influences at Washington did not favor this change, and Couch was ordered to report to General Thomas for duty, and by him was sent to the Fourth Corps to report to General Stanley. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 58.] The latter was just going on "sick leave" on account of his wound received at Franklin, and without being assigned to any division, Couch, by rank, assumed temporary command of the corps in the absence of the regularly assigned commandant. [Footnote: Id., p. 72.] The immediate result of this was to supersede Brigadier-General Wood, who had been second in rank in the corps through the year, and was one of the oldest officers in the Army of the Cumberland. In the rearrangement of divisions when the temporary command would cease, it would displace General Kimball, who was also one of the most experienced brigadiers, and would reduce him to a brigade. The dissatisfaction thus caused in Thomas's own department made him transfer the problem to Schofield and the Army of the Ohio. Thomas proposed to Couch to take a division, therefore, in the Twenty-third Corps. [Footnote: Ibid.] Schofield was induced to consent to this, as it was accompanied by an arrangement for the speedy organization of a division of new troops, to which General Ruger could be assigned whilst Couch should take that which Ruger now commanded. When the new scheme was laid before Couch, he replied with dignity that he would readily serve where he was ordered, but could not, of his own election, take a position that would throw him into a lesser command. The formal orders making the changes were then issued. [Footnote: Id., pp. 86, 103, 104.] We had two good brigadiers in our corps, who had recently proved their capacity to take the new division,--Reilly, who had been distinguished in the battle of Franklin, and Cooper, who had conducted his brigade by a most perilous and circuitous retreat from Centerville to Nashville; [Footnote: "Battle of Franklin," chap. vii. and p. 206.] but the commissions of these dated only from the taking of Atlanta, and being juniors on the list of general officers, their claims to the larger command were not considered very strong.

My own position was the one most affected by the advent of a senior in rank into the corps. I had been senior of the division commanders in East Tennessee as well as in the Atlanta campaign, and actually in command of the corps in the absence of its regular chief or his assumption of still wider duties. As second in rank, one is necessarily in confidential possession of much knowledge which he would not otherwise have, for the possibility that accidents of the campaign may throw the larger command upon him requires that he should have the means of judgment and action in such an event. He is therefore in much closer relations to his superiors than he would be as division commander merely. Again in marches and in any scattering of forces, as senior, his command will be extended over other portions of the corps in the absence of the commander, and I had not infrequently found myself in command of another division beside my own, either by definite orders or by operation of the articles of war. [Footnote: "Battle of Franklin," pp. 277, 278.] When to this is added such command as fell to me in the October campaign in Georgia, and in the battle of Franklin, which could not have been mine if I had not stood next to Schofield in the corps, it will be seen that for me it was the practical loss of a grade, as it would have been for General Wood in the Fourth Corps if General Couch had remained there. My only purpose in noting these things is to make intelligible the feeling in the army that such transfers are not good administration, except where they are in the nature of promotion for brilliant service. The feeling was also strong that the loss of one's footing in one large army, unless caused by exceptional reasons, fully understood, is a reason against a transfer to another, where, in generous rivalry, all have been striving to merit advanced instead of diminished grades. In justice to General Schofield, however, I must not omit to say that he fully appreciated my situation, and with an earnestness which outran anything I could claim, exerted himself to secure my promotion and to make me eligible to the permanent assignment to the corps' command when his own authority was afterward enlarged. General Couch's position was by no means a desirable one for him; for he could not be ignorant of the sentiment of the army, and he would probably have preferred a division in the Potomac Army to one in ours, for there in spite of a temporary eclipse, he had a fixed and honorable reputation which would justify a reasonable expectation of regaining prominence in it. [Footnote: In the spring of 1863 General Couch was the senior corps commander in the Army of the Potomac, and as such was nominally in command on the field in the battle of Chancellorsville during the temporary disability of General Hooker. Shortly after that battle he asked to be transferred to some other command, and was assigned to the Department of the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania, where the duty was merely administrative. In reducing these organizations in the fall of 1864, he became a supernumerary. See Walker's Second Army Corps, pp. 234, 235.]

Without going into a narration of the battle of Nashville, it may be worth while to remark that the publication of the official records increases the importance of the absence of Forrest's cavalry, which gave the opportunity for an almost unopposed advance of Thomas's right in the manoeuvres of the 15th December to turn Hood's flank. We had known that Chalmers, one of Forrest's division commanders, had been sent to cover the four miles of space intervening between the left of the Confederate line and the river. [Footnote: "March to the Sea, Nashville," etc., pp. 107, 114.] Chalmers' report now tells us that he had only Colonel Rucker's brigade with him, the rest of the division having been sent to the other flank. He asserts that, after leaving one regiment on the Granny White turnpike in immediate touch with the infantry line, he had only 900 men left. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 765.] With so small a force he, of course, could hardly do more than observe and report the advance of our three cavalry divisions. Coleman's brigade of infantry which had held the Hillsborough and Hardin turnpikes was recalled to the main line early in the day, [Footnote: Walthall's Report, Official Records, vol. xiv. pt. i p. 722] and as it moved away without his knowledge, Chalmers, on learning it, supposed it was driven back. It left uncovered the cavalry baggage train on the Hardin turnpike, which was captured by part of Colonel Coon's brigade of our horse. [Footnote: Chalmers' Report. Id., p. 765; Coon's Report, Id., p. 589.] Chalmers then took Rucker's brigade to the Hillsborough turnpike so as to cover more closely the infantry flank, and left only one regiment to delay the advance of our cavalry on the roads nearer the river.

Map: Battle of Nashville.

During the night of the 15th and the morning of the 16th the movement of Cheatham's corps to Hood's left had been observed by both our infantry and our cavalry. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 217, 224.] As part of these troops had been seen marching northward on the Granny White turnpike, Schofield very naturally took into consideration the probability of their being new reinforcements coming to Hood from the rear. [Footnote: Id., p. 214.] The extension of the enemy's fortified line to our right had made it necessary to extend my division in single line without reserves, and even then they were stretched almost to the breaking-point. [Footnote: Cox's Report, Id., pt. i. p. 407.] Thomas began his inspection of the line at Wood's position on the left in the forenoon, and came westward visiting the commands in turn. [Footnote: Wood's Report, Id., p. 131; A. J. Smith's Report, Id., p. 435; "Franklin and Nashville," p. 118; Schofield's "Forty-six Years in the Army," p. 246.]

At ten o'clock in the morning Wilson had most of his cavalry "refused, on the right of Schofield, the line extending across and perpendicular to the Hillsborough turnpike." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 220. In the dispatch quoted, the name is given "Murfreesborough" by a manifest clerical error. Schofield's right was near the Hillsborough turnpike, the Murfreesborough turnpike being beyond the other flank of the whole army.] A regiment had been sent to try to reach the Granny White turnpike, but had been driven off and reported Cheatham's infantry moving to the left upon it. [Footnote: Id., p. 224.] Wilson reported this to Schofield, adding, "The country on the left of the Hillsborough pike, toward the enemy's left, is too difficult for cavalry operations. It seems to me if I was on the other flank of the army I might do more to annoy the enemy, unless it is intended that I shall push out as directed last night." [Footnote; Id., p. 216. See also Schofield's "Forty-six Years," p. 244.] Schofield acknowledged the receipt of this information at 11.15, and forwarded it to General Thomas. In view of the apparent concentration of the enemy's forces in his front, he advised Wilson, until he should receive other orders from Thomas (who was then on the left with General Wood), to hold his forces "in readiness to support the troops here, in case the enemy makes a heavy attack." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 216. See also Schofield's "Forty-six Years," p. 244.] At half-past one his dispatch to Thomas, from his position on the field close to my own, fixes with clearness the situation at that hour. "Wilson is trying to push in toward the Granny White pike, about a mile south of my right. My skirmishers on the right are supporting him. The skirmishing is pretty heavy. I have not attempted to advance my main line to-day, and do not think I am strong enough to do so. Will you be on this part of the line soon?" [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 215; see also Stiles's Report, Id., pt. i. p. 431.]

In a letter written in 1882, to assist me when preparing to write my account of the battle of Nashville, [Footnote: "Franklin and Nashville," etc., chap. vi.] General Schofield gave me his recollection of the situation on our right during the morning of the 16th of December. [Footnote: Letter of June 1, 1882.] "I had gone back to Nashville in the night preceding," he said, "to persuade Thomas to order Wilson to remain on my right and take part in the battle the next morning, and A. J. Smith to close up on our left. Thomas had only partially adopted my views, and had not given Wilson any orders to attack. I had waited impatiently all the morning, and until some time after noon for Wilson to get orders from Thomas, or to comply with my request to put his troops in without waiting for orders. Finally, some time after noon, Wilson had consented to go in with his cavalry (I relieving him of all responsibility), and I had directed you, with your reserve brigade, which was not then in contact with the enemy, to support Wilson or join with him in attacking the enemy's flank." When Schofield received the proposal from McArthur through Couch, that an assault should be made on Shy's hill, in the angle of the enemy's line, by one of McArthur's brigades, supported by Couch, he "became impatient," he says, "for Wilson and Stiles [my flank brigade] to get possession of the commanding ground to the enemy's left-rear, so as to prepare the way for your [my] assault upon his intrenched line." [Footnote: See also General Schofield's discussion of the events of the 16th, in his "Forty-six Years," pp. 263-275.] The field dispatch of General Couch in regard to supporting McArthur was dated at 2.30 P.M. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 217.]

General Schofield sought an opportunity to compare recollections with General Wilson, and wrote me again on the 29th of June, 1882, saying that he was greatly surprised to find that Wilson did not recollect the proposal and request stated above, but thought that General Thomas had come in person to his position on the Hillsborough turnpike, and about 10 or 10:30 o'clock A.M. had given him the orders under which he then undertook to advance against Hood's left-rear. Wilson also associated with it the capture of a dispatch from Hood to Chalmers, urging the latter to drive the Yankee cavalry from his left and rear, as otherwise he could not hold the position. This dispatch, Wilson said, he promptly sent to Thomas. As the conference between Schofield and Wilson was for the purpose of assisting me in getting undisputed facts for the history of the campaign, I was permitted to know the result and to have the contents of a letter from Wilson to Schofield of date of June 28, 1882, restating his recollection. In pursuance of my rule to avoid as far as possible the debate of subsidiary controverted points in my connected history, I omitted any reference to them in this instance. General Schofield's memory is, however, so strongly supported by the field dispatches, that it does not seem difficult now to reach a sound historical judgment.

It is plain that during the earlier part of the day General Wilson was reporting through General Schofield, who forwarded to General Thomas the information received. At some time before noon the latter had completed his examination of the position of the Fourth Corps on the left of the army, so that General Wood was at liberty to ride to General Steedman's headquarters on the Nolensville turnpike. [Footnote: Official Records, vol xlv. pt. i. p. 131.] Thomas passed westward to General Smith's headquarters at the centre, where he seems still to have been at three o'clock, [Footnote: Id., p. 435.] or at the time of the arrangement between McArthur and Couch, which the latter places at half-past two. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. p. 217.] Thomas then visited General Schofield's position, where he was when the final assault was made and the enemy routed. General Wilson's reports make no mention of a visit from General Thomas on the 16th, and the contents of his dispatches show that there had been none up to eleven o'clock, when Thomas was with Wood on the other flank of the whole army. It can hardly be necessary to mention the extreme improbability of the commander's omission to visit Schofield's quarters near the Hillsborough turnpike, if he were going by that road to Wilson, who was also on it. We must conclude that General Wilson is mistaken in his recollection. That he saw General Thomas at Schofield's position late in the day, is conceded by all. [Footnote: The account in "Franklin and Nashville," etc., p. 119, must be modified in accord with the facts above stated.]

We find no mention in the records of any capture of an important dispatch from Hood to Chalmers, except that found on the person of Colonel Rucker, when he was wounded and captured at 6.30 P.M., trying to hold the pass of the Brentwood hills on the Granny White turnpike, in the darkness, two hours after the collapse of Hood's line. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 218.] This dispatch seems to have strongly resembled the language used by Wilson in his letter to Schofield in 1882. It is said to have stated that Chalmers' cavalry must take care of this flank. In sending the information to General Johnson, Wilson added, "Go for him with all possible celerity, as Hood says the safety of their army depends upon Chalmers." [Footnote: Wilson to Johnson, Id., p. 222.] As we have already noted, Rucker's brigade, just routed, was all there was of Chalmers' division on that flank except a regiment covering trains making for Franklin.

The Confederate records support this view. Chalmers' report relates the skirmishing during the morning in which Rucker was holding the Hillsborough turnpike against Wilson, and the attempt on our side to move to the Granny White turnpike, from which Hammond's detachment was driven back. He says that with one regiment and his own escort he "held the enemy in check for more than three hours." [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 765.] This agrees very well with the situation as indicated in General Schofield's dispatch of 1.30 P.M., when a serious effort was making on our side to reach that road. Chalmers reported the fact that the regiment was hotly beset, and Hood's adjutant-general, in acknowledging it at 3.15 P.M., said, "Your dispatch, saying you were fighting the enemy with one regiment on the Granny White pike, received. General Hood says you must hold that pike; put in your escort and every available man you can find." [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 697.] Chalmers reports that he received this about 4.30, when the regiment had been driven back; that he then moved up Rucker's brigade, which had reached the same turnpike nearer Brentwood, and after a sharp struggle it was routed. "By this time," he adds, "it was so dark that it was impossible to re-form the men, or, indeed, to distinguish friend from foe, so closely were they mingled together." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 766.] It was in this mêlée that Rucker was wounded and captured.

In preparation for the attack in concert with A. J. Smith's command, my flank brigade (Stiles's), which had been in echelon on our right, was ordered to swing forward in touch with our cavalry advance. [Footnote: My Report, Id., p. 407.] My own main attack was to be upon the bastion which made the flank of the enemy's works before us. I ordered Doolittle's brigade to charge straight at it. Casement's brigade, on Doolittle's left, was to march by the right flank at double-quick in rear of Doolittle, so as to become a second line to him and support the advance as might be necessary. The skirmishers of Stiles's brigade had accompanied the cavalry advance since half-past one, and in the final effort his troops in line were to take part as already stated. [Footnote: See Schofield to Thomas, 1.30 P. M., Id., pt. ii. p. 215; Stiles's Report, Id., pt. i. p. 431; my own Report, Id., p. 407, and sketch map accompanying the latter, Id., p. 408; also "Franklin and Nashville," etc., pp. 119-122.] After personal conference with my brigade commanders to insure complete mutual understanding, I rode to the hill in rear of my lines where Thomas and Schofield were together, [Footnote: Marked 2 in map, p. 359.] watching for the concerted attack upon Shy's hill in the salient angle of Hood's lines.

When Smith's men were seen to reach the summit of Shy's Hill, I received the signal from Schofield, and galloped down the hill toward Doolittle; but he also had caught sight of the movement, and his brigade was already charging on the run when I reached him. The excited firing of the enemy was too high, and Doolittle's men entered the works with very little loss. The collapse was general. As soon as we were over the works, I was ordered to stand fast with my command and give General Smith's command the right of way down the Granny White turnpike. Doolittle's brigade had carried the bastion in front of our right and the curtain adjoining it, and his line halted immediately in rear of these, partly facing the turnpike. He had captured a four-gun battery of light twelves in the bastion and another of the same number in the curtain, with the artillerists and part of the supports. [Footnote: See the official reports cited above, and special reports as to the guns, Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 234, 235; also regimental reports, Twelfth Kentucky, Id., pt. i. p. 417, One Hundredth Ohio, Id., p. 420, and Eighth Tennessee, Id., p. 423.] Stiles, advancing with the cavalry, was halted a short distance in front of Doolittle, facing southward on the right of the turnpike. Casement was halted in the trenches from which Doolittle had started. [Footnote: Casement's Report, Id., pt. i. p. 425. All the reports on the National side except that of the cavalry refer to the concerted attack on Shy's hill as the signal for the general advance. The Confederate reports also speak of the carrying of that salient as the cause of the rout. In his second report, dated Feb. 1, 1865, and in his letter to General Schofield in 1882, cited above, General Wilson says that it was on his personal report of what his men were doing on the enemy's left rear that Thomas ordered the final assault.]



CHAPTER XLV

PURSUIT OF HOOD--END OF THE CAMPAIGN

Night after the battle--Unusual exposure--Hardships of company officers--Bad roads--Halt at Franklin--Visiting the battlefield--Continued pursuit--Decatur reoccupied--Hood at Tupelo, Miss.--Summary of captures--Thomas suggests winter-quarters--Grant orders continued activity--Schofield's proposal to move the corps to the East--Grant's correspondence with Sherman--Schofield's suggestion adopted--Illness--I ask for "sick-leave"--Do not use it--Promotion--Reinforcements--March from Columbia to Clifton--Columns on different roads--Western part of the barrens--Fording Buffalo River--An illumined camp--Dismay of the farmer--Clifton on the Tennessee--Admiral Lee--Methods of transport--Weary waiting--Private grumbling--Ordered East--Revulsion of spirits--On the transport fleet--Thomas's frame of mind at close of the campaign.

The night after the battle of Nashville was one we were not likely to forget. Twilight was falling when we halted, after the crushing of the Confederate lines, and as we were likely to join in the pursuit before morning, I had announced that I would be found with Doolittle's brigade. Owing to the darkness and a gathering storm, the troops having the advance did not get far, but the risks of missing dispatches that might be sent in haste made me adhere to my rule of staying where I had said I might be found. This kept the staff and headquarters in the space a little in rear of the captured line of works, a spot unclean and malodorous. We built a camp-fire, and tried to clean off spots on which we could sit on the ground; but a heavy rain soon came on, and as we were in the woods, the light soil soon made a mire, and we were forced to stand upright and take the weather as it came. The extreme weariness of standing about, with nothing to vary the monotony, physically tired and sleepy, in the reaction from the excitement of the afternoon, was something which cannot be understood unless one has had a similar experience. We had hoped our servants might find us during the evening and bring us something to eat; but the advance over hills and intrenchments had made it hard to follow our course even in daylight; but in the darkness and storm they entirely failed to find us. We felt a good deal like "belly-pinched wolves," but we had no den in which we could "keep the fur dry." Indeed, the suffering of a dog that was with us was a thing we often referred to as illustrating our utter discomfort. A fine pointer, astray in northern Georgia, had attached himself to me in October, and had been constantly with us, leaping and barking with joy whenever I mounted my horse. He was with us now, and when the rain came on he stood in the mud like the rest of us, finding no spot to lie down in. He grew tired and sleepy, and looked wistfully about for a place he could consent to lie in, but gave it up, and spreading all four legs well apart he tried to stand it out. Occasionally his eyes would close and his head droop, his body would slowly sway back and forth till he made a greater nod, his nose would go into the mud, and gathering himself up he would lift his head with a most piteous whine, protesting against such headquarters.

The longest night must have an end, and early in the morning one of our black boys found us, bringing with him on horseback a haversack full of hard-tack, and in his hand a kettle of coffee which we soon made piping hot at the camp-fire, and found the world looking much more cheerful. The storm continued, however, and made the pursuit slower and more difficult than it would have been in better weather. The cavalry had the advance, supported by A. J. Smith's troops on the Granny White turnpike, and by Wood's Fourth Corps on the Franklin turnpike. We were ordered to follow Smith. Our camp on the evening of the 17th was not far from Brentwood between the two roads which come together a little further on after crossing the Little Harpeth, some seven miles from Franklin and the larger stream of the same name.

Our headquarters the second night after the battle were an improvement on those of the night before. We found a knoll which was fairly drained, we borrowed a tarpaulin from a battery, and with fence-rails made of it a lean-to with back to the storm. A pile of evergreen boughs made a couch on which we lay, and a camp-fire blazing high in front made a heat which mitigated even the driving December storm. Our faithful black boys had coffee-pots and haversacks, so that we did not go supperless. I wrote home that my overcoat with large cape weighed about fifty pounds with the water in it, but it kept my body dry, and I found it better to wear it than to put on a rubber waterproof, for perspiration did not evaporate under the latter.

Our private soldiers wore the rubber poncho-blankets above their overcoats in wet weather, and two "pardners" would make a shelter tent of the pair of waterproofs which had metal eyelets to adapt them to this use. Veterans carefully selected the place for the tent, pitched it in good form, trenched it so that the water would flow off and not run into the tent; then with their bed of cedar boughs, their haversacks and coffee-kettles, they were not worse off than the officers,--better off indeed than their company officers who trudged afoot like themselves.

Transportation was so difficult to get that, in pressing forward, baggage was reduced to smallest possible allowance. In bad roads such wagons as we had were far behind the troops, and the company officers were exposed to severe hardships by the delay. I laid their condition before General Schofield, in a letter which better tells the tale than I could now give it from memory alone. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 312.] "From the time we left Nashville," I wrote, "until last night [21st December], these gentlemen had no shelter, and only such food as they could obtain from the private soldiers, being far worse off than the men, since the latter had their shelter-tents and their rations in haversacks. The officers' rations and their cooking utensils are in the regimental wagons, which are necessarily left behind in movements such as we have lately made, and they must either furnish themselves with knapsacks and haversacks, and carry their cooking utensils upon their own persons or those of their servants, or be utterly destitute. Even if they do this, the wagons of the commissary of subsistence are also at the rear, except upon ordinary days of issue, and it would be necessary to issue to them precisely as is done to the soldiers in the ranks, and so break down the last vestige in distinction in mode of life between them and their commands. As it is, I state what I know from personal observation when I say that no individuals in any way connected with the army are enduring so much personal suffering and privation upon the present campaign as the officers of the line. As I know the commanding general will be most desirous to make any arrangement which is feasible to reduce the amount of discomfort, I take the liberty of suggesting that during the winter campaign the transportation for each regiment be one wagon for regimental headquarters and for company books and papers, desks, etc., as now, and in addition one pack-mule for each company. The pack-mules make little or no obstruction in the road, are easily moved to flank or rear in case of manoeuvre of troops, and will be up with the command when the regiment goes into camp. Unless some such arrangement is made, I fear many of our officers will break down in health, and many more, becoming disgusted with the hardships of the service, and especially with the difference between themselves and their more fortunate brethren of the staff and staff-corps, will seek to leave the army. In many commands some similar arrangements to the one I have suggested have been surreptitiously made; but as I have rigidly enforced the rule turning over to the quartermaster all unauthorized animals, I am the more desirous of obtaining for the gentlemen of the line whom I have the honor to command such authority to regulate their transportation as will save them from the apparently unnecessary hardships they have of late endured, without detracting from the mobility of the division." The plan suggested was one we had used in exigencies in the Atlanta campaign, and General Schofield immediately authorized it for winter use.

The cold rainstorm, in which the battle of Nashville had ended, lasted for a week, turning to sleet and snow on the 20th and clearing off with sharp cold on the 24th. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. pp. 360, 361.] Worse weather for field operations it would be hard to imagine. The ordinary country roads were impassable, and even the turnpikes became nearly so. They had never been very solidly made, and had not been repaired for three years. In places the metalling broke through, making holes similar to holes in thick ice, with well-defined margin. These were filled to the brim with water, and churned into deep pits by the wheels of loaded wagons. It required watchfulness to see them, as the whole surface of the road was flowing with slush and mud. When a wheel went into one, the wagon dropped to the axle, and even where there was no upset it was a most difficult task to pry the wagon out and start it on the way again. The wagon-master was lucky if it did not stop his whole train, and it was no uncommon thing for a mule to be drowned by getting down in one of these pits. Hood's rear-guard under Forrest and Walthall destroyed bridges behind them, of course, and that our cavalry with the head of our infantry column were able to keep close on the enemy's rear till they passed Pulaski is good proof of the energy with which the pursuit was conducted. Yet it was necessarily slow, for it was confined to one road, the rest being impassable, and flanking operations could only be made on a small scale when in contact with the enemy.

When we reached Franklin on our southward march, we were halted for a day, so that we might not crowd too much upon the rest of the column, and I took advantage of the opportunity to study the condition of the battlefield there. My division camped between the Columbia and the Lewisburg turnpikes, on the ground over which the Confederates had advanced to attack it in the battle. Portions of the second line of works close to the Carter house and the retrenchment across the Columbia road had been levelled, but the principal defences were as we had left them. The osage orange-trees which we had used for abatis had been evenly cut away by the bullets, and the tough fibres hung in a fringe of white strings, the upper line quite even, and just a little lower than the top of the parapet. The effect was a curiously impressive one as we looked down the line we had held and thought what a level storm of lead was indicated by this long white fringe, and what desperate charges of Hood's divisions they were that came through it, close up to the line of this abatis. Every twig was weeping with the cold pouring rain of the dark midwinter storm, and this did not lessen the gloomy effect of the scene. At the Carter house we learned from the family many incidents of their own experience during the battle and of the scenes of the next day. [Footnote: See "Franklin," chap. xv.]

Our position in the rear of the marching columns put upon us the duty of building bridges, repairing roads, and improving the means of supplying the troops in front. We consequently made halts, one of two or three days at Spring Hill, and another in our old camps north of Duck River, where we had held the line of the river on the 28th and 29th of November. The day after Christmas we moved over the river and encamped in front of Columbia, on the Pulaski turnpike. We remained here for several days, whilst the Fourth Corps and the cavalry, making Pulaski their depot for supplies, followed Hood until he crossed the Tennessee on the 28th and 29th of December. The line of the Confederate retreat was stripped bare of supplies and forage, and every energy was devoted to rebuilding railroad bridges and getting the road opened to Pulaski so that wagon transportation might be limited to the region beyond the head of the rails. Thomas had ordered Steedman's and R. S. Granger's divisions to Decatur by rail, going by way of Stevenson. Once there, they were to operate in the direction of Tuscumbia and Florence, seeking to destroy Hood's pontoon bridges crossing the Tennessee. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 260.] The light steamboats in the upper river were reckoned on to take supplies from Chattanooga, where an abundance was in depot. Steedman reached Decatur on the 27th of December, and Granger joined him from Huntsville, but Hood had reached Bainbridge, at the foot of Muscle Shoals on the 25th; [Footnote:Id., p. 731.] and next day had a bridge there, built in part of our pontoons which had been floated down from Decatur. [Footnote: Ante, p. 343.] He assembled the remnants of his army at Tupelo, Miss., fifty miles south of Corinth. The inspection report of January 20th showed 18,708, infantry and artillery, present for duty; Forrest's cavalry not reported. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 664.] Thomas's prizes in the two days' fighting at Nashville were reported by him as amounting to 4462 prisoners and fifty-three pieces of artillery. [Footnote: Id., p. 40.] The pursuit after the battle doubled the number of the prisoners, gathered large numbers of deserters, and considerably increased the number of guns captured. [Footnote:Id., pp. 46, 48, 51.]

On the 29th of December Thomas indicated to General Halleck his opinion that all had been done which was now practicable, and his purpose to put his forces into winter quarters,--A. J. Smith's corps with most of the cavalry at Eastport, where the Mississippi and Alabama line reaches the Tennessee River; the Fourth Corps at Huntsville, Ala., and the Twenty-third at Dalton, Ga. Steedman's and Granger's divisions were already at Decatur, and would hold that important position, with which direct railway communication from Nashville would be opened as quickly as the road could be repaired from Pulaski southward. Thomas also outlined for the spring a concerted advance of the columns into southern Alabama. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 402.] The same day he issued his order to Schofield to prepare at once for the march of a hundred and fifty miles to northern Georgia. [Footnote: Id., p. 409.] A march of the same distance southward along the Mobile and Ohio Railway would have carried us to Hood's camps at Tupelo, with a prospect of immediate results, and we were not exhilarated by the order, which, however, was countermanded on the 30th in consequence of dispatches received by Thomas from Halleck.

General Grant had, on the 16th, authorized Sherman to make his own plan for a new campaign, and the latter had indicated the march from Savannah to Columbia and thence to Raleigh as that which he would make if left to himself. [Footnote: Id., vol. xliv. pp. 727-729.] The necessity of reducing the war expenses as soon as possible, as well as more purely military reasons, seemed to the General-in-Chief to make a continuous winter campaign imperative, and by his orders Halleck had directed Thomas not to go into winter quarters, but to assemble his army at Eastport and prepare for further active work. [Footnote:Id., vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 441.] Grant rightly concluded that Hood's army would be sent to the Carolinas as soon as Sherman marched northward. He was therefore considering combinations of Thomas's with Canby's forces for the capture of Mobile and a movement on Selma, Ala., which was the only great armory and manufacturing centre now remaining to the Confederates in the Gulf States. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 419, 420.] Our army was a good deal worn with the hardships of the campaign, our wagon trains had not been brought up to the requirements for full field service, and we were receiving new troops which were not yet fully assimilated to the old; but the advantages of following up our successes by unflagging efforts in the West as well as in the East, and of making the "long pull and a pull all together" which would end the war, were so plain that all responded cheerily to the call.

But in the Twenty-third Corps a new element entered into the debate, which resulted, a fortnight later, in orders for us to move in a widely different direction. On the 27th, the day that we received at Columbia the news that Sherman had taken Savannah, Schofield wrote an unofficial letter to Grant, suggesting that the corps would no longer be needed for the spring campaign which Thomas was then planning, and that with its increase of strength it might be of more use in Grant's own operations in Virginia if it was not practicable for us to rejoin Sherman. [Footnote: Id., p. 377.] Circumstances were making Schofield's situation in Tennessee uncomfortable, for, as he said in the same letter, he was in an anomalous position, nominally commanding a department and an army, but practically doing neither. Such considerations reinforced the military reasons, but the latter were strong enough to establish the wisdom of his suggestion to Grant. He wrote at the same time to General Sherman, indicating that his strongest wish would be to join the army at Savannah if it should be feasible, for he recognized the great military importance of now concentrating against Lee. [Footnote: "Forty-six Years," p. 254.] It happened that on the same day that Schofield was writing these letters, Grant was writing to Sherman, expressing his pleasure in the latter's confidence of his ability to march through the Carolinas, and his own belief that it could be done. "The effect of such a campaign," he said, "will be to disorganize the South, and prevent the organization of new armies from their broken fragments." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xliv. p. 820.] Giving a sketch of the situation in the West, he thought Sherman's advance would force the Confederacy to use Hood's broken army without allowing it time to collect its deserters and reorganize. As it would thus be "wiped out for present harm," he was considering the plan of ordering A. J. Smith away from his temporary connection with Thomas's main army, and bringing him with ten or fifteen thousand men to Virginia to make his own army strong enough to deal effectually with Lee, whether the Confederate general continued to defend Richmond or should abandon that city. [Footnote:Ibid.] Schofield's suggestion fitted so well the plan Grant was revolving in his mind, that he decided to bring the Twenty-third Corps East, instead of Smith's. On the 7th of January he directed Thomas to send Schofield and the corps to him with as little delay as possible, if he were sure that Hood had gone further south than Corinth. [Footnote: Id., vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 529.] When Thomas received the order on the 11th, he was at Paducah on the Ohio River, and about to start up the Tennessee by steamboat. We were at Clifton on the Tennessee, after a hard march of some seventy miles southwest from Columbia, and were awaiting steamboats to take us up to Eastport, wholly ignorant of the surprise that was in store for us. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 363.] Even Schofield had received no word from Grant as to his action.

In making this outline of the changing plans of our superiors, I have outrun the current of my personal experience in which some things may be worth noting. On the day after the battle of Nashville, I was conscious of malarial poisoning from the specially unwholesome conditions of our bivouac on the night of the 16th, but was so confident in the vigor of my constitution in throwing off such ailments that I paid no attention to my health, and kept about my duties with my ordinary activity. I found, however, that my strength was not equal to the demands upon it, and by the time we reached the Duck River on the 23d of December, I was glad to find quarters at the house of Mrs. Porter, in the bend of the river, where we had been during the two days before the battle of Franklin, and where we were again received with a kindness and hospitality which was wonderful when one considers how the passing and repassing of armies had ruined the country and overstrained the sympathies of the people.

Fortunately for me, our movements were suspended for a week and we made but one change of camp, crossing to the south side of the river, and taking the position in front of Columbia which I have already mentioned. [Footnote: Ante, p. 373.] My medical director, Surgeon Frink, gave me heroic treatment, and by the time we marched again on the 2d of January, I was able to do my ordinary duties, though I did not become quite well again till I reached the sea-coast and got a complete change of climate. At this time we were expecting to go into winter quarters, and when, on 29th December, I learned that orders were issued for the corps to winter at Dalton, I requested and received a leave of absence for thirty days, to go home and recover my health. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 361.] My order had been issued, turning over the command to Colonel Doolittle, the senior brigade commander present, [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 476.] when I learned from General Schofield that the active campaign was to be resumed and that he had abandoned the purpose he had formed of going north himself as far as Louisville. I immediately rescinded my own order, and marched with the command. [Footnote: Id., pp. 426, 474, 475, 486.]

During the pursuit of Hood from Nashville, Thomas had followed in person the Fourth Corps, which was in advance of ours, and Schofield had no opportunity of personal conference with him, so that our only knowledge of his purposes was got from the formal correspondence with his headquarters. When Colonel Doolittle sent forward his communication reasserting the capture of the battery in the curtain of the Confederate works on the 16th of December, [Footnote:Ante, p. 366.] it was accompanied by my own and indorsed by General Schofield. It reached Thomas at Duck River, and he made it the occasion of indorsing upon it a recommendation for my promotion to the grade of Major-General. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 234, 235.] On the 19th, from Franklin, General Schofield made his own recommendation in terms which I may be pardoned for feeling more pride in than in the promotion itself. [Footnote: See Appendix C.] This was earnestly supported by General Thomas and forwarded on the 20th. The only vacancy in the grade was one made by the resignation of General McClernand, and to this I was assigned, as of the 7th of December, the date of General Schofield's report of the battle of Franklin, though the official notice of the promotion did not reach me till the 15th of January, at Clifton, as we were about to take steamboats for our movement to the East. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 273, 274; Id., pt. i. p. 364. Army Register for 1865, pp. 54, 95. Another vacancy occurred on the 13th December, by the resignation of General Crittenden, and to this General W. B. Hazen was appointed for his assault of Fort McAllister near Savannah. (Ibid.) On December 22d Mr. Stanton asked Thomas to make a list of promotions he desired to recommend, but informed him that there was then no vacancy in the grade of Major-General, and only two in that of Brigadier. (Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 307.) General Schofield thinks that Stanton, in the dispatch last mentioned, referred only to vacancies in the regular army. (Forty-six Years, p. 279.) The circumstances and the whole correspondence seem to me inconsistent with this view. Thomas made out his list on the 25th, and it was for promotions in the volunteer service only. (Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 343.) Thomas's own promotion as Major-General in the regular army was made on the 24th. (Id., pp. 318, 329.)]

Before leaving Columbia, General Schofield had, on the 28th of December, a consultation with his three division commanders in regard to the assignment of the new regiments, to the number of twelve or thirteen, which had been added to the corps. [Footnote: These included two or three which had been temporarily attached at Franklin, but were now made permanent parts of the organization.] It was agreed that it was best to preserve the older organizations of divisions and brigades, and to strengthen these by some new regiments, while the rest of the new regiments were organized into a division under General Ruger. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 409.] Schofield had the promise of several other regiments whenever they should come forward; and by correspondence with Halleck and with the Governor of Illinois, as well as with Thomas, he was actively striving to bring the corps to the proper strength of three full divisions. At the end of the month we had 15,000 men, with at least two other regiments ordered to join us, one of them convalescing from the measles, which was very apt to run through a new organization taking the field. [Footnote:Id., pp. 426, 436, 445, 461, 473, 475.] The new troops were nearly all officered by men of experience, and contained many veterans who had re-enlisted. We thus welcomed back valuable men who had served in the corps, and came to us with increased rank and a renewed zeal which made our reinforcements at once nearly equal to seasoned troops.

Our orders to march from Columbia on the 1st of January were in pursuance of the orders Thomas had received to concentrate his army at Eastport and Tuscumbia for the continuance of the campaign. The Fourth Corps was en route to Huntsville, and Thomas did not change its destination, as he thought it could take part in new movements as well from that position as from Tuscumbia. A. J. Smith's corps had already been ordered to Eastport for winter quarters, and had marched from Pulaski by way of Lawrenceburg and Waynesborough, reaching Clifton on the 2d of January, where it awaited steamboat transportation. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 396, 410, 420, 427, 486. Clifton is called Carrollville in official Atlas, pl. cxlix. The former name is that used in the dispatches and which we found in use by everybody. The roads and topography in the map are very incorrect.] Thomas himself was at Pulaski, and went back by rail to his headquarters at Nashville, whence he took a steamer to convey his field headquarters and staff by way of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to Eastport. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 470, 530, 567.]

We marched from Columbia on the morning of the 2d of January, 1865, following the turnpike to Mt. Pleasant, ten miles, through some of the finest farms in the State. The afternoon was spent in organizing the corps to move in separate columns by division, each with its own supply train; for the information we got as to the condition of the roads made it wise to try any country roads which had not been used by the armies. It was arranged that Couch's division should march by the turnpike to Waynesborough, wind by a ridge road through the "barrens" north of the turnpike, and Ruger should follow me some distance, and then take an intermediate road through Laurel-Hill Factory, leaving an interval of a day's march between our columns. Couch's division was preceded by the engineer battalion of the corps, as pioneers to repair the turnpike. [Footnote: Id., pp. 475, 486.] Promptly at six o'clock on the 3d, my division marched from Mt. Pleasant, continuing for five miles on the Waynesborough turnpike, then turning to the right upon the Gordon road, we climbed by a steep and long hill to the barren ridge which is the watershed between the Duck River and Buffalo River. Five miles from the turnpike our way ran into the Beaverdam road, which we kept for five miles further to the fork of the Ashland road, turning to the left. Here we camped and waited for our trains, which had slow work in climbing the ridge, for it had rained all the morning, and the roads were slippery. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 362; pt. ii. p. 498.]

It was noon of the 4th before the trains overtook us, and I then ordered an issue of rations to lighten them, and we started again, with a citizen for a guide. We followed the Perryville road seven miles to the headwaters of Grinder's Creek, a tributary of Buffalo River, and down the creek three miles, the road being a mere track in its bed. We now turned to the right over a ridge and came down into Rockhouse Creek, the course of which we followed to the river. I had learned that we must ford the Buffalo, and from the wet weather it would be whole leg deep. It was getting late in the day, and Rockhouse Creek had to be crossed many times; so I passed the order along the line not to try to bridge, but to march straight through the creek and make the more important crossing of the river before going into camp. This seemed hard, in the month of January, when, as it had cleared and was cold, ice was forming in the still places of the stream; but I heard that open farm lands bordered the river on the other side, and if our wading was done all at once, we could make the men dry their clothes and shoes with less danger to health than if we began another day with a soaking. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 362.]

It grew dark several hours before we reached Buffalo River, the column plodding along in the wooded ravine. I had turned out from the road to wait for the brigades to pass, and have a word with the commanders in turn, and was picking my way to the head of column again, when I overheard one of those little colloquies between soldiers which give real pleasure to an officer. A fresh recruit was grumbling at marching in the darkness and in the water, and wondering what generals could mean by putting such hardships upon the soldiers, when a veteran by his side answered cheerily, "When you've been in this division as long as I have, you'll know there's some good reason for pushing us this way; so take it easy, and don't growl. The General knows what he's about." I turned further out into the darkness, with a feeling that it would cheapen the brave man's words to let him learn who had heard him, but the evidence of the trust which is the foundation of soldierly devotion gave a deep satisfaction. When the column reached the river, which was about seventy-five yards wide, fires were lit on both sides as guides to the ford, and though it was near nine o'clock, the men were not permitted to rest till they had thoroughly dried themselves around the great fires of fence-rails. They did not need orders to boil their coffee and cook a hot supper in their bivouac. The broad fields between the hills and the river were illuminated far and wide, and the stillness of the dark valley was transformed into the noisy activity of the armed host. All in the camp were "merry as grigs," and did not need to be told why the march had been prolonged into the night. But the fun of the soldier was the grief and dismay of the farmer.

The place belonged to an elderly man named Churchill. We had to make use of his house for headquarters, and while our boys were cooking our supper, a busy group of officers was seated about the crackling fire in an open fireplace, writing dispatches and orders, receiving reports, and sending messages, while in the shadows of the background the farmer and his wife were moving uneasily about, looking out of door or window, and wringing their hands at the vision of destruction which had suddenly descended upon them. The old man protested at the burning of his fences, naturally enough, and all we could say was that, in the end, if he could prove his loyalty, he would be indemnified for his loss; but this was small consolation, and we pitied him whilst we applied the pitiless code of military necessity to save the troops from worse mischiefs.

The ridge road we had followed had been so completely a wilderness that we saw but one inhabited house for fifteen miles. The hillsides were covered with a young forest, the original woods having been cut off and made into charcoal for the iron furnaces of the region. In good weather it would have been easy marching through the region, for the top of the ridge was fairly level, winding along in a general westerly direction; but as the road had never been "worked," and was a mere wagon track, it soon became muddy, and our wagons cut it so deeply as to spoil it for the use of any who were to follow us, and to make about fifteen miles a day the most we could ourselves accomplish.

Starting again on the 5th, we marched through Ashland, [Footnote: In the Atlas, pl. cxlix., Ashland is erroneously placed north of Buffalo river.] up the valley of Forty-eight-mile Creek and thence along a ridge to Waynesborough, encamping just beyond the town. Our road ran into the turnpike two miles east of the village, and we met Couch's division at the junction of the roads. We took the advance, which we kept during the next day's march to the Tennessee, reaching Clifton toward evening of the 6th, after a very hard day's work, the weather beginning with rain in the morning and turning to sleet and snow after noon. We pitched our tents in the snowstorm, locating the camp more than a mile from the landing-place, as the eligible ground nearer was occupied by Smith's corps, which was waiting for transports to take them up the river.

It was a desolate outlook. A few chimneys and two or three houses marked the site of what had once been a flourishing village, but which had been burned in the guerilla warfare of the last year. The landscape was bare, the trees having disappeared in the demand for camp-fires, as different bodies of troops had camped there from time to time. The bluff above the river was level and monotonous, and the great turbid stream rolling northward reflected only the heavy stormy skies. The only consolation we could gather was that Eastport, for which we supposed we were bound, was more desolate, more muddy, and a worse camping-ground.

The other divisions of the corps halted at Waynesborough for two or three days, till transports should take Smith's corps away and give us our turn at the landing. General Schofield joined me on the afternoon of the 7th, and on Sunday, the 8th, a fleet of transports came down the river, convoyed by three gunboats under Rear-Admiral Lee. They had taken part of Smith's troops to Eastport and had returned for the rest. A pleasant recollection of the time is the acquaintance then begun with the Admiral, which was afterwards renewed at Washington when I met him in the attractive circle of the Blair families, both the elder Francis P. Blair, and Montgomery, with whom Admiral Lee was connected by marriage. When the fleet was gone again, the rest of our corps gathered at Clifton, but we seemed shut off from all communication with the outer world. We had broken our connection with the country we had left, in the expectation of having our base on the lower Tennessee, and our supplies were getting short. An occasional steamboat would go by us, steaming up the river without stopping. Feeling the necessity of getting news from General Thomas below, General Schofield ordered me, on the 9th, to send a piece of artillery to the river bank and force up-bound boats to stop and report. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 557.] On the same day Schofield issued his order for the movement by transports up the river, giving the method of shipping the troops by divisions, each with its own artillery, baggage, and ordnance trains. Open barges were provided for the artillery and ordnance, and these were to be lashed alongside the steamboats on which the troops and the regimental baggage would be loaded. The method was arranged in consultation with Admiral Lee, to whom the division commander was ordered to report during the transit. [Footnote: Ibid.] The intent was to keep each division together as a military unit, with its baggage, guns, and trains, so that it could take care of itself when landed. [Footnote: Id., p. 557.]

Nearly a week passed, the only variation in the monotony being the changes of the weather, which went through the cycle of raining, snowing, clearing, thawing, and freezing which had been regularly marked during the season. The delays in reaching the up-river rendezvous, the complete absence of all news, the wearying effect of waiting, all told upon the troops in a depressing way. General Schofield evidently had little faith that much would be done before spring, and the fact that he had heard nothing from his letters to Grant and Sherman left him without the means of relieving the general tendency to apathy and discontent under which we were suffering. In my own case I had the further discomfort of physical ailing, for though the worst symptoms of my illness had been mitigated, I was far from my usual vigor. The undeniable result of this appeared in my home letters, and it would not be altogether honest to suppress the hearty bit of private grumbling which I indulged in.

Writing on the 13th, after noting the utter lack of stability in the weather and its effect on our operations, I broke out on the personal results of the winter campaigning. "I am getting ragged and barefoot," I said. "My boots are worn out, my coat is worn out, my waistcoats are worn out, my hat is worn out, and I am only whole and respectable when I am in my shirt and drawers. If I ever get near civilization again, I shall be obliged to lie abed somewhere till I can get some clothes made. I don't wonder the Washington people want to have the campaign go on, and if they would apply a little of the 'go ahead' to the army on the James, would appreciate it still better. Here we know to an absolute certainty that the army is stuck in the mud; but the administration would not believe General Thomas when he told them so, and force him to pretend to move, with the fear of being superseded hanging over him, whilst he knows that any effective movement is impossible. We can ruin our horses and mules, and put half our men in hospitals without getting twenty-five miles from the Tennessee unless the weather changes, and this is all we can do. Hood can laugh at us unless the Mobile and Ohio Railroad can be repaired as we go and be made to furnish us supplies. If this could be done, or if the season would permit us to chase the rebels right into the gulf, I would be perfectly content to stay, and in fact couldn't be coaxed to go home; but knowing what I know, I feel perfectly sure that I might as well be making a biennial visit to my family as not."

On the day after this letter was written General Thomas came up the river with a fleet of transports which we were ordered to take for a movement down instead of up the river. The word spread that we were going to join Sherman, and though this meant journeys by boat, by rail, and by ocean ships, two thousand miles or more, our camps leaped from apathy to enthusiasm, such creatures of circumstance we are! Looking back at the situation, I have to admit that Grant's plan of keeping everything moving was the right one, and that if hopeful energy and enterprise could have combined Canby's movements with ours, and we had all been told that this active co-operation was afoot and would soon take us southward where we would meet the coming spring while Tennessee was still shivering in the winter storms, we should all have caught the spirit of the opportunity and cheered our leaders on. But this impulse in an army must come from the head downward. The trudging columns perfectly know the fatigue, the cold, the mud. They very imperfectly catch the larger view which stimulates to great effort by the hope of great results. In a council of war the division commanders would probably advise delay in sympathy with the hardships of the troops, when the same officers would have sprung with ardor to the work under a brief and strong appeal from a confident leader, presenting the broader reasons for energetic persistent activity. It was this quality of leadership in Sherman which made Grant say to Stanton in December, "It is refreshing to see a commander, after a campaign of more than seven months' duration, ready for still further operations without wanting any outfit or rest." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 264.]

Thomas did not stop at Clifton except to send us his orders, and went on to Eastport, arriving there on the morning of the 15th. From that place he reported that Hood's infantry, much disorganized, was at Tupelo, West Point, and Columbus, Miss. Forrest's cavalry, in similar condition, was about Okolona. Roads were almost impracticable, but the high water in the river made it easy to get supplies to Eastport by the largest steamers. [Footnote: Id., pp. 586, 593. General Schofield does not remember seeing General Thomas in Tennessee after December 25th ("Forty-six Years," p. 276), and this accords with my impression that Thomas did not stop at Clifton long enough for us to visit him.] As to our new movement, Mr. Charles A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, had been intrusted with the supervision of the transfer, and sent west Colonel L. B. Parsons of the Quartermaster's Department to collect a fleet of steam-boats at Louisville for the purpose. [Footnote:Id., pp. 560, 568, 586.] But meanwhile, under Thomas's orders, the fleet of transports had been collected and had come for us, and the troops were joined by Colonel Parsons when they reached the Ohio. He then took charge of the transportation by boat and by rail. [Footnote: Dana's Recollections, pp. 253, 254.] As the transfer would take ten days or more, Schofield arranged to go on in advance to close up business at Louisville and for consultations with Grant and Halleck by telegraph. I went with him to Cairo, where we took railway trains, and I was authorized to go to my home in Ohio to recuperate until he should telegraph me from Washington. The command of the corps en route was given to General Couch. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 588.] As we were leaving the Military Division of the Mississippi, Colonel Doolittle was obliged to give up the command of Reilly's brigade and return to his own regiment. Reilly rejoined the corps after we reached North Carolina. The convalescents of Sherman's army and his recruits were collected in a provisional division under General Thomas Francis Meagher, took steamboats at Nashville, and made part of the same general transfer to the East. There was an amusing coincidence when the brilliant Irish "patriot" telegraphed that his fleet had started, "the Saint Patrick leading the way." [Footnote: Id., pp. 564, 600, 613.] Colonel Wright, Sherman's efficient chief of railway construction, had been ordered, a little earlier, to proceed eastward with one division of the construction corps with the object of joining Sherman at Savannah. [Footnote:Id., p. 393.] Changing circumstances, however, brought him as well as Meagher's division into our column a little later, as will soon appear. In a similar way General S. P. Carter joined us by transfer from duties at Knoxville, [Footnote: Id., p. 620.] and General George S. Greene, of the Twentieth Corps, who had been serving on a court-martial at Washington, was also temporarily attached to our command till he was able to join his own organization, which was with Sherman. [Footnote: Id., p. 623.]

The reduction of Thomas's forces could not have been altogether agreeable to him, though he no doubt preferred it to the continuance of a winter campaign under imperative orders from Washington. He had not ceased to believe that it was better to rest and refit his army till spring;[Footnote: Id., p. 621.] but Grant insisted that he "must make a campaign or spare his surplus troops," and though Thomas was a model of obedience to orders, his continued opposition of opinion, frankly expressed, naturally led to the detachment of our corps. The discussion of the subject between Grant and Halleck clearly stated the reasons which were conclusive. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 609, 610, 614; also vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 101, 859.] Thomas suffered mentally under the pressure and the criticisms of the whole campaign, and we may personally share his pain in sympathy with the noble man, whilst we admit that Grant's views were such as the situation demanded. Those who knew Thomas intimately knew that he was a man of quick feeling if of slow action; and his nature was truthfully described by his quartermaster, Colonel Donaldson (who was an old and intimate friend), in a letter to General Meigs, after a parting interview on the steamboat as Thomas left Nashville for Eastport. "He opened his heart to me," says Donaldson. "He feels very sore at the rumored intentions to relieve him, and the major-generalcy does not cicatrize the wound. You know Thomas is morbidly sensitive, and it cut him to the heart to think that it was contemplated to remove him. He does not blame the Secretary, for he said Mr. Stanton was a fair and just man." [Footnote: Id., vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 561.]



CHAPTER XLVI

CAMPAIGN IN NORTH CAROLINA--CAPTURE OF WILMINGTON

Rendezvous at Washington--Capture of Fort Fisher--Schofield ordered to North Carolina--Grant and Schofield visit Terry--Department of North Carolina--Army of the Ohio in the field--Correspondence of Grant and Sherman--Sherman conscious of his risks but hopeful of great results--His plan of march from Savannah--Relation of Wilmington to New Berne--Our arrival at Washington--The Potomac frozen--Peace conference at Fort Monroe--Interview with Mr. Stanton--The thirteenth amendment of the Constitution--Political excitement at the capital--A little dinner-party--Garfield, H. W. Davis, and Schenck--Davis on Lincoln--Destination of our army--Embarkation--Steamship "Atlantic"--Visit to Fort Monroe--The sea-voyage--Cape Fear Inlet--General Terry's lines--Bragg the Confederate commander--Reconnoitring his lines--The colored troops--"Monitor" engaged with Fort Anderson--Alternate plans--Marching on Wilmington by the west bank of the river--My column opposite the town--Orders not applicable to the situation--Difficulty of communication--Use of discretion--Wilmington evacuated--A happy result.

On Thursday the 26th of January, 1865, I received a telegram from General Schofield directing me to join my command without delay, and I started from my home in northern Ohio the same evening. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 131.] I had spent a week in a delightful visit with my family after two years of absence from them, and had been rapidly improving in health. The growing faith that the campaign of the winter and spring would end in complete victory for the national arms created an ardent zeal to be about it and to have an active hand in the final scenes. Our orders had indicated Annapolis as our port of rendezvous, and our destination the Army of the Potomac in front of Petersburg. [Footnote: Id., vol. xlv. pt. ii. pp. 529, 586.] On reaching Annapolis Junction in the night of the 28th, I learned that my division was in Washington, and followed it, arriving there in the morning of the 29th. [Footnote: To get an adequate idea of the task of transporting an army corps so great a distance, one should look at Colonel Parsons's report, including 250 dispatches. Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 215-284.]

The change from Annapolis to Washington and Alexandria had been made by Grant upon a suggestion of General Halleck that there was no shelter at Annapolis for such a body of troops, whilst there was enough at the capital. As the winter weather was then severe, this thoughtfulness saved the command much suffering. [Footnote:Id., vol. xlv. pt. ii. p. 596.] The military situation had also changed materially by the capture of Fort Fisher on the North Carolina coast, on the very day we embarked on the transports at Clifton (January 15th). This capture by the forces under General A. H. Terry was one step in the preparation of a new base for Sherman in his march northward through the Carolinas, and Grant was most anxious that it should be followed by the occupation of Wilmington. His desire to strengthen his own army was made secondary to his determination to make Sherman's movement an assured success. He wrote to Sherman on the 21st that he would send Schofield to Wilmington, if, as was rumored, the fall of that place had followed the capture of Fort Fisher. [Footnote: Id., vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 102.] On the 24th he had made up his mind to send Schofield there anyhow, and was going himself to inspect the fort and the situation at the mouth of Cape Fear River. He telegraphed for Schofield to join him on this visit to Terry, and the outline of the new campaign was then arranged. A new department of North Carolina was decided upon, Schofield was to command it, his army in the field to consist of two provisional corps besides the Twenty-third, of which Terry was to command one, and the other for a time fell to me. This field force was to retain our old title of the Army of the Ohio. On Schofield's recommendation the brevet rank of major-general was given to General Ruger, and that of brigadier to Colonel Henderson of the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, for services at Franklin. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 121, 179, 190, 201.] Sherman had heard of the fall of Fort Fisher before he broke his communications with Savannah, and was assured of a new base there, even if the line from New Berne to Goldsborough should not be opened.

The correspondence between Sherman and Grant at this time is very characteristic of both men, and throws a bright light on their unselfish friendship and their earnest purpose to bring the war to a successful end without rest or delay. In his letter of the 21st of January, after giving the latest details of his situation, Sherman adds: "I am told that Congress meditates a bill to make another lieutenant-general for me. I have written to John Sherman to stop it if it is designed for me. [Footnote: See Sherman Letters, p. 245.] It would be mischievous, for there are enough rascals who would try to sow differences between us, whereas you and I now are in perfect understanding. I would rather have you in command than anybody else, for you are fair, honest, and have at heart the same purpose that should animate all. I should emphatically decline any commission calculated to bring us into rivalry, and I ask you to advise all your friends in Congress to this effect, especially Mr. Washburne. I doubt if men in Congress fully realize that you and I are honest in our professions of want of ambition. I know that I feel none, and to-day will gladly surrender my position and influence to any other who is better able to wield the power. The flurry attending my recent success will soon blow over and give place to new developments." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 103. In the same letter Sherman referred to the farewell order General Butler had addressed to his troops on being relieved of command. "I am rejoiced that Terry took Fisher," Sherman said, "because it silences Butler, who was to you a dangerous man. His address to his troops on being relieved was a direct, mean, and malicious attack on you, and I admired the patience and skill by which you relieved yourself and the country of him." In the address referred to, Butler had said: "I have been chary of the precious charge confided to me. I have refused to order the useless sacrifice of the lives of such soldiers, and I am relieved from your command. The wasted blood of my men does not stain my garments." (O. R, vol. xlvi. pt. ii. p. 71.) Such a publication made its author liable to court-martial, but Grant took no public notice of it, except to oppose his further assignment to duty. Id., vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 537, 562. See also Sherman to Admiral Porter, Id., p. 104, and Grant to Sherman, Id., p. 859.]

Replying on the 1st of February, Grant said: "I have received your very kind letter, in which you say you would decline, or are opposed to, promotion. No one would be more pleased at your advancement than I, and if you should be placed in my position and I put subordinate, it would not change our relations in the least. I would make the same exertions to support you that you have ever done to support me, and I would do all in my power to make our cause win." [Footnote:Id., p. 193.]

That Sherman knew his campaign in the Carolinas would involve great risks, and had no blind confidence in his fortune, was shown by his reply to the well-known letter of congratulation which President Lincoln sent him upon the surrender of Savannah: [Footnote: Id., vol. xliv. p. 809, and Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 166.] "The motto 'Nothing venture, nothing win,' which you refer to, is most appropriate, and should I venture too much and happen to lose, I shall bespeak your charitable inference." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 18.]

In writing to Grant also, on the 29th of January, in a very full and interesting letter, he said: "I expect Davis will move Heaven and earth to catch me, for success to my column is fatal to his dream of empire. Richmond is not more vital to his cause than Columbia and the heart of South Carolina." [Footnote: Id., p. 155.]

Map: Northeast Georgia / South Carolina border area

The general plan which he adopted was to threaten both Charleston and Augusta with the wings of his army, keeping the enemy in doubt as to his purpose as long as possible, whilst he pushed his centre rapidly toward Columbia. He had no mind to waste time in serious operations against Charleston, for he knew that it must fall when his advance threatened to cut it off from communication with Richmond. From Columbia he planned to march on Raleigh by way of Goldsborough, the last-named place being connected by railroad with both Wilmington and New Berne, and being therefore the objective of General Schofield's movements from both seaports. Beaufort, the harbor of New Berne, was deeper than the mouth of Cape Fear River, and was therefore to be made the principal base of supply for Sherman when he should enter North Carolina; but Wilmington was so much further south that prudence required it to be first occupied and provisioned to give Sherman temporary supply, if any contingency should make it necessary to him before the railroad from New Berne to Goldsborough could be rebuilt. These subsidiary operations in North Carolina were to be our special task. [Footnote: For connected historical treatment of Sherman's march northward, and of the capture of Fort Fisher, see "March to the Sea," etc., chaps, viii.-xi.: Life of Sherman (Great Commanders' Series), chap. xii.]

On reaching Washington, I found that my troops were just arriving on trains from the West. They were temporarily placed in barracks in the city, till the fleet of transports should be ready. The unusual severity of the winter had frozen the Potomac, and Annapolis was also blocked with ice, so that the quartermaster's department had to wait two or three days for a change of weather, before fixing the point of departure. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 154.] The time passed pleasantly for me, since it gave me the opportunity of renewing old acquaintance with public men, and of observing for myself the spirit which animated political circles at the capital. Mr. Lincoln with Mr. Seward had gone to Fort Monroe to meet Mr. Stephens and others, commissioned by the Richmond government to confer informally as to the possibilities of peace. The Confederate officials were at Grant's headquarters on the 1st of February, "very desirous of going to Washington to see Mr. Lincoln," as the General-in-Chief wrote Sherman incidentally. From his interview with them, Grant was convinced that "the peace feeling within the rebel lines is gaining ground rapidly," but he added, "This, however, should not relax our energies in the least, but should stimulate us to greater activity." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 194.]

Going to pay my respects to Secretary Stanton at the War Department, I was met by him in an exceedingly cordial way, and in parting, after an interesting visit, he congratulated me on my promotion, saying I owed nobody any thanks for it, as it had been fully and fairly won. I owe it to him to mention this, for so much was current about the brusqueness of his intercourse with army officers, that he is entitled to the testimony that, on this as on all other occasions when I met him personally, nothing could be kinder or more considerate than his manner to me.

My visit to Washington happened to include the day on which the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery passed the House. Breakfasting with Chief-Justice Chase, I met also Henry Ward Beecher, and the great historical event was, of course, the central subject of conversation. The forecast by such men of the effect upon the country and upon the world made a blending of solid wisdom with brilliant eloquence not to be forgotten. My friend Governor Dennison was Postmaster-General, and in his house I had full opportunity to judge of the keen, almost feverish interest with which public men and leading citizens were following the rapid march of both military and civil affairs. Coming, as I was, out of the rough winter campaign of the West for a brief halt in the centre of political activity, before sailing to the swamp-lined shores of Carolina, there was something almost unreal, though fascinating, in the contrast of the excitement of the field with the totally different but scarcely less absorbing excitement which I saw in every face.

Garfield arranged a little dinner at which, besides himself, I met General Schenck and Henry Winter Davis, all of them playing leading roles in the House of Representatives. We four were alone, and it was a rare opportunity for me to hear unrestrained discussion of everything in public affairs. Nearly every phase of current political and military events was treated in brilliant and trenchant criticism, and the conversation turned at last upon the peace conference going on at Fort Monroe. Mr. Davis was a Marylander, who was second to none in uncompromising loyalty to the Union, and had an acknowledged pre-eminence in eloquent advocacy of the National cause. He, however, did not understand or appreciate Mr. Lincoln, and in the celebrated "Wade and Davis manifesto" of the previous year, had opposed the re-election of the President. He now let loose in a witty and scathing denunciation of Lincoln and all his works. The current epithets among the President's opponents, of which "baboon" was one of the mildest, were flung at him with a venom that, to me, was half shocking and half comical. The soldier habit of making the Hurrah for Lincoln our answering war-cry to the Hurrah for Davis of our enemies in the field, made a bewildering puzzle of such an outburst. The meeting with the Southern commissioners was denounced as a weak compromising of our cause. He saw no force in the argument that weak hearts among us would be strengthened when they saw that now as upon former overtures the Confederate authorities insisted upon independence as the necessary condition of peace, whilst Mr. Lincoln stood firmly for restoration of the Union and abolition of slavery as the essentials. The curious fact was that such a man, ably busied for four years in political co-operation with the President, living in the same city, in frequent personal contact with him, had utterly failed to measure his character and his intellect, or to get even a glimmering idea of what lay beneath that ungraceful exterior and that quaint and humorous speech. The elegant orator and polished man of the world felt no magnetism but that of repulsion; and his senses were so dulled by it that he never guessed the wisdom and the breadth, the subtle policy and the deep statesmanship, the luminous insight and the unfaltering purpose which now seem writ so plain in Lincoln's words and deeds.

General Schenck did not appear to differ greatly from Davis, but what he said was in short, trenchant sentences, interjected from time to time. Garfield treated the outburst as a sort of extravaganza, and in his position as host did not seriously debate, but rallied his friend with good-humored persiflage, met his outbursts with jovial laughter and prodded him to fresh explosions by shafts of wit. It was a strange and not altogether exhilarating experience for me; but I had afterward to learn that the belittling view of Lincoln was the common one among public men in Washington. The people at a distance got a juster perspective, and knowing him by his written papers and his public acts, divined him better and gave him a loyal support hardly to be distinguished from their devotion to the cause of the country itself. We may fairly conclude that the failure of so many men near the President to understand him is not creditable to their sagacity; but we must also admit that a first impression and a superficial view would in his case be almost surely misleading, and that to correct it would take better opportunities for an intimate study of the man than most public men would have, and most would not care to seek them. The belittling view of men in power fits best our self-esteem.

As soon as General Schofield got back from his trip to Fort Fisher with Grant, he had issued his orders for our movement which was to take place as soon as the ice would permit our transports to enter or leave the harbors on Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac. My own division was to take the lead and sail to Cape Fear River. Couch's would come next and land at Beaufort for operations on the New Berne line. Ruger's (the new troops) would sail last, and find orders at Fort Monroe in going down the bay, deciding whether its destination should be Wilmington or Beaufort. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 135.] Meagher's provisional division of detachments belonging to Sherman's army was temporarily attached to us, for it was too late to join Sherman by way of Savannah. Meagher had ordered it to rendezvous at New York, but Grant changed its destination to Washington with the purpose just stated. Its commander had gone on to New York in advance without any understanding with army headquarters, and the convivial and unsystematic Irishman thereby fell into trouble. [Footnote: Id., pp. 116, 119, 126, 204, 293.]

On Thursday the 2d of February, General Schofield was able to issue his final orders for embarkation. Only vessels enough for two brigades of my division had been able to reach Alexandria, and Casement's brigade was sent by rail to Annapolis to take ship there and to be followed immediately by Meagher's provisional command. [Footnote: Id., p. 213.] Friday was spent in getting troops on board the ships at Annapolis and systematizing their accommodation for the voyage. One of our transports was the "Atlantic," Captain Gray, which, as the crack ship of the Collins Line of New York and Liverpool packets, had led the van of the ocean greyhounds in the days of wooden hulls and side-wheels. General Schofield and myself made our headquarters on this ship. On each of the other vessels the senior officer was made responsible for all the troops on board, and was confidentially authorized, after it should enter Chesapeake Bay, to instruct the master of the ship to make the best of his way to Cape Fear Inlet as the rendezvous for the division. [Footnote: Id., p. 293.] General Grant had asked the War Department to arrange for a patrol of the coast by the navy during the transit of Schofield's little army. [Footnote: Id., p. 284.]

On Saturday the 4th we had expected to start at daybreak, but a heavy fog delayed us. When it lifted, we made our way slowly down the Potomac, the drifting ice obstructing the passage so that we could only go at a snail's pace, backing and filling to keep in the ice openings and to save injury to the vessel. Starting at ten o'clock, we only reached the head of Kettlebottom Shoals by nightfall of the short winter day, making less than twenty miles. The passage of the shoals was too dangerous for so large a vessel in the dark, and we dropped anchor for the night. I had made it my first task on Friday evening to have a complete understanding with Captain Gray, and to get his suggestions as to the orders I desired to issue for the conduct and discipline of the troops while on board ship for which I was responsible. He was a gentleman of ability and large experience in his profession, and co-operated with me so cordially that our week on board the "Atlantic" was a most comfortable one, full of interest and enjoyment, though we met rough weather outside the capes. My order was issued on Saturday and rigidly enforced during the voyage. By Captain Gray's invitation I made my office in his chart-room on the upper deck, enforcing regular tours of duty for officers and men of the division, of whom nearly 2000 were on board. In the intervals, when the captain was not himself on the bridge, we exchanged stories of our very different experiences, and I found his conversation both interesting and instructive. We had besides, of course, the large circle of comrades and old friends in the cabin, and for those who escaped sea-sickness the hours never hung heavy.
[Footnote: As the Records do not seem to contain many orders for the conduct of troops on transport ships, I insert that which I made for this voyage. It was, of course, supplemental to the Army Regulations of 1863, chap, xxxvii.

"Special Orders

No. 9.

HEADQUARTERS, THIRD DIV., 23D ARMY CORPS,
Steamship Atlantic, February 4, 1865.

The following regulations will be strictly observed by the officers and men of this command during the present voyage:

1. No open lights will be allowed in any part of the ship occupied by troops. The ship's lanterns will be arranged by the officers of the vessel in such a way as to light the decks during the night, and will not be opened or interfered with by the men.

2. No smoking will be allowed in any part of the vessel used for sleeping except the open decks. The men may smoke in the open air upon the upper decks, and the brigade commander will provide for giving proper airing, and opportunity to smoke, to the men quartered below. Officers will smoke, either upon deck or in the smoking-room near the water-closets.

3. The division and brigade commissaries will make arrangements with the steward of the ship for cooking the men's coffee and doing other necessary cooking for the command, and for serving the same out at regular hours.

4. The canteens of the men may be filled with drinking water once each day, the men being marched by companies under their proper officers to the pump in the fore part of the ship for that purpose.

5. The brigade commander, in consultation with the commander of the ship, will arrange for the perfect policing of the quarters, sinks, etc.

6. The starboard side of the upper and main decks abaft of the engine, will be kept clear of men and reserved for the use of officers, both of the command and of the ship, during the day; and such portion of this space as may necessarily be occupied by the men for sleeping at night, will have a passage kept entirely clear for the use of the officers and crew of the vessel in working her at night. No men will at any time be allowed to go upon the roofs of the houses on the upper deck.

7. Proper roll-calls will be established, and the line officers will be strictly required to attend them, and to make close personal inspections daily of the condition of their men, and to be personally in command of them when marched out for water, or coffee, or when on duty.

8. An officer of the day will be daily appointed by the brigade commander, and shall have full charge of the execution of this order, and supervision of all the police arrangements of the command. Proper line officers will be detailed on guard duty, and sentries will be regularly posted at the bulkhead of the ship storeroom on the forward lower deck, at the sinks, over the lights at night, and on the middle line of the decks reserved under paragraph six.

9. The officer of the day, after reporting at brigade headquarters each day, will report to the captain of the ship, in order that the ship's officers may know to whom to apply for any enforcement of these regulations.

By command of Major-General Cox.

(Signed) THEO. Cox,
Capt. and Ass't Adj't-General."

Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 303.]

Weighing anchor at daybreak on Sunday morning, we passed Kettle Bottom Shoals safely, and found much more open water in the lower river. The day was mild and calm, and we made good progress to Fort Monroe, where we stopped in the evening to take on board a supply of ammunition. While this work was going on, I took advantage of the opportunity to land in a small boat and pass through the place by moonlight. As one of the largest and most important of the fortresses of the old style, with heavy walls of masonry, casemated, and with regular moat, it was an interesting study to a soldier, and all the more so as we were then in the full heat of the discussion of the relative value of such formal works compared with mere earthworks, of which Fort Fisher, to which we were bound, was a very striking example. It was admitted that modern ordnance could soon knock the walls into a rubbish-heap, but Fort Sumter had raised the supplementary debate, whether the rubbish-heap did not begin a new chapter in the defence, longer and more important than the first period of attack.

map of south-central North Carolina at the South Carolina border

As soon as the ammunition was on board and properly stowed, our voyage was resumed, and at daybreak we had passed out of Chesapeake Bay, joining our consorts of the transport fleet near Cape Henry, and were running down the coast along the even line of keys which lie as a breastwork against the Atlantic Ocean outside of the much indented coast proper of North Carolina. The wind was moderate and off shore, so that Captain Gray laid his course straight for Cape Hatteras, with only offing enough to keep in a good depth of water,--say fifteen or twenty miles. At intervals during the day we could see isolated clumps of pine-trees rising out of the water, like low-lying, blue clouds, so that we could hardly say that we were wholly out of sight of land. We passed Cape Hatteras late in the afternoon, about sunset, and as the coast now trends much more to the westward, with concave lines from Hatteras to Cape Lookout (near Beaufort), and from Lookout to Cape Fear, our course took us farther out to sea. I woke on Tuesday morning to find the ship pitching heavily and heavy rain sounding loud on the deck over my head, driven by gusts of wind. Doubts as to the reliability of my "sea legs" made me prudently keep my berth till about ten o'clock, when I went on deck to find a dense fog and a high running sea. The rain had ceased, but the succeeding fog was a worse obstacle to navigation. We were nearly at our destination, and were feeling our way slowly along. My "doubts" vanished in the fresh air, and the bit of real seafaring was exhilarating. Most of the cabin passengers, however, failed to show themselves on deck, and the soldiers and officers whom duty kept there did not all enjoy it greatly. The recruiting regulations, just then, allowed transfers to the gunboat service of soldiers who had any experience even in inland navigation, and the impulse to change had made the subject a "burning question," even while we were in the West The inveterate practical jokers now had their opportunity, and a man leaning uneasily over the lee rail was sure to be offered the chance to enlist in the navy, with glowing eulogies of its superior comfort compared with marching in the mud. In the middle of the afternoon we dropped anchor in nine fathoms, but toward evening the fog lifted, and we ran further in, anchoring in seven fathoms, about a mile off the shore. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 927.] Fort Fisher was abreast of us, on Federal Point, its big parapet looking like a long, low hill, with knobs upon it, rising from the beach of glittering white sand against a background of the pine forest. Admiral Porter's fleet lay at their moorings all around us, a few of the lighter vessels having crossed the bar and run into the mouth of Cape Fear River behind the fort, where the river channel was nearly parallel to the sea beach and less than a mile from it. We were at New Inlet, between Federal Point and Smith Island, or rather the long, narrow key which runs northward from the island. Cape Fear is the sharp southern point of Smith Island, some seven miles south of where we lay, and the old entrance was south and west of the cape, between the island and the mainland. [Footnote: See official Atlas, pl. cxxxix.]

The landing of the troops was a difficult task, for the roughness of the sea made it impossible for another vessel to lie alongside the transports, and we had to resort to the slow and somewhat dangerous method of transferring the men from the ships to a light-draft steamer in the ship's small boats. A little wharf was on the inner side of Federal Point, but there the water was so shallow that even the light-draft propeller could not get to the wharf, and another transfer had to be made. Crossing the bar could only be done at high water or near it, and the time for work was consequently so much shortened that the whole of the 8th and 9th was used in landing the division. At sunset of the 9th the sea went down enough for the propeller to come alongside; the headquarters tents and baggage were transferred to her, and we took leave of the good ship "Atlantic." By the time this transfer was made, the tide was too low to let us pass in over the bar, and we had to pass the night on the dirty propeller, lying outside till eight o'clock of Friday the 10th, when we ran in at high tide, and after the second transfer resumed our character of land forces on the sandy shore of North Carolina. All the saddle horses of the command were, however, upon a freight ship that did not arrive for several days, and mounted officers who had lived in the saddle for years found it slow and tiresome work to wade on foot through the soft sands in the performance of military duty.

General Terry with his forces was holding a line across Federal Point about two miles above Fort Fisher, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 910.] and I directed my own troops to encamp a little in rear of Terry's line. My own quartermaster arranged with the chief of that department on the ground to send our headquarters tents and baggage with the division. Meanwhile, taking the little river steamboat which had made our final transfer to the shore, I visited General Schofield, who had his headquarters temporarily on the steamer "Spaulding," assigned to the medical department for hospital use, but which at the time had no sick or wounded on board. Like myself, he was for the nonce dismounted, and as he was contemplating movements up both sides of Cape Fear River, some means of ready communication with both banks was a necessity. With him I visited Admiral Porter on the flag-ship "Malvern," and a movement for next day, the 11th, was arranged. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 927.]

Map

General Bragg was in command of the Confederate Department of North Carolina, to which he was assigned when General Lee, being made by law general-in-chief of the army, superseded him in the similar duties he had been performing by appointment of President Davis. Bragg's headquarters were at Wilmington. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1088, 1099.] Hoke's division was mostly in intrenchments across Federal Point about four miles above Fort Fisher, his right resting at Sugar-loaf Hill on the left bank of the river, and his left near the lower end of Myrtle Sound. Opposite Sugar-loaf, at Old Brunswick, was Fort Anderson, a strong earthwork with ten pieces of heavy ordnance, garrisoned by General Hagood with his brigade of two thousand men. [Footnote: Official Atlas, pl. cxxxii.; Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. pp. 911, 1077.] The channel of the river was obstructed by torpedoes and other defensive devices. The enemy's fortifications on Smith Island and near Smithville had been abandoned when Fort Fisher fell, opening the way into the river above them.

On board the "Malvern" it was arranged that a monitor and other vessels of the fleet which could cross the bar should ascend the river and engage Fort Anderson, whilst Terry's troops, supported by my division, should make a strong reconnoissance of Hoke's lines and, if they were found to be strongly held, establish counter lines near them, so that most of the forces could then be used for flanking operations. [Footnote: Id., p. 958.] Returning to my command, I found it encamped as had been ordered, and our headquarters tents in comfortable shape by the zealous labors of our servants aided by the headquarters guard. General Terry kindly sent over four horses as a mount for myself and my most necessary staff officers in the movement to begin in the morning. One of the first questions a soldier asks in regard to his camping-place is, Where is water to be got? One's first impression would be that on this flat tongue of sand covered only with a sparse growth of pines and scrub live-oak, with the ocean on one side and a tidal river on the other, fresh water would be scarce and brackish. But we were agreeably disappointed to find that near us, in the middle of the sands, was a juniper swamp and pond of which the water was sweet and wholesome, though from the juniper roots it had the bright brown color of coffee.

On the 11th the movement was made as planned. Hoke's outposts and pickets were driven from their rifle-pits, and his main line at Sugar-loaf well reconnoitred. Terry's new line was established within small-arm range of the enemy and intrenched so that Hoke might be obliged to hold his own position in force. In the advance I was much interested in observing the conduct of the colored troops in General Paine's division, for I had never before seen them in action. They were well disciplined and well led, and went forward with alacrity in capital form, showing that they were good soldiers. I rode well forward purposely to watch their skirmishers, and was greatly pleased to see the pace they took and the lively way in which they followed up the Confederate outposts when once these were started.

When the new position was taken up, I went to the river bank, and there, from a sand breastwork so white that it looked like a snow-drift, I watched with my field-glass a duel between the monitor "Montauk" and Fort Anderson. The monitor, which lay about a mile from the fort, was of the original single-turret form, armed with the large-calibre smooth-bores, which were fired with great deliberation and with surprising accuracy. I could not see how any rifled guns could have improved on their practice. The conical shot would, of course, have excelled in penetrating power and in range, but the big round shells seemed to be put just where the gunners wished. A group of men stood on the deck of the monitor behind the turret, and they frequently came out from its cover to watch the effect of the firing, having time to step back again, between the flash of the enemy's gun and the passing of the shot. The deck of the monitor, being almost awash, was no mark at all for the artillerists in the fort, and it would be the merest chance if a ricochet shot struck it. If it did, the very low angle of impact made it fly off without doing any harm. The turret was dented with some centre shots, as I saw when I visited the vessel later, but it was practically impregnable to the ordnance the Confederates used. On the other hand, the direct fire from the ship was limited in its effect to the displacement of earth on the parapet or the knocking away of the cheeks of the embrasures. The body of the garrison was kept out of range, and the artillerists were so close to the rampart that when shells exploded over them, the fragments flew beyond and there were few casualties.

General Terry was left to hold the new line established in face of Hoke with Paine's division and Abbott's brigade, whilst my division and Ames's (of Terry's command) were marched back to camp near Fort Fisher. Schofield's own idea had been to send me with my own and Ames's divisions across the river to operate against Fort Anderson by the west bank and, by taking it, force the enemy to evacuate the Sugar-loaf position opposite. By thus concentrating on the bank most weakly held, we would by a sort of see-saw work them back till they must give up Wilmington or fight for it in the open. I was directed to be ready to cross the river on the 12th, but the order was countermanded, and it was determined to try a plan which would avoid the necessity of dividing the forces on the two sides of a large river. Colonel Comstock of Grant's staff, who had accompanied Terry as engineer in the taking of Fort Fisher [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvi. pt. ii. p. 30.] and who was still with us, had made a reconnoissance up the coast on the 11th, and found at Big Hill, three miles south of Masonboro Inlet, a position from which it seemed practicable to cover the collection and launching of enough pontoon boats to ferry a column of troops across Myrtle Sound. If this could be done with secrecy and speed till enough were over to make head against the enemy while the rest were crossing, Hoke's position would be turned and he would have to fall back upon more open country, where our whole force could be manoeuvred against him.

On Comstock's suggestion Schofield determined to try the plan, which was a promising one if winds and waves would permit. The navy was to tow the boats to the place of rendezvous with a body of engineer troops under Comstock's orders, whilst Schofield led Ames's and my divisions by the shore. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 403,404.] The movement was made after dark on the evening of the 12th, but the bad weather had hardened down into a regular northeaster, and it proved impossible to tow the pontoon boats through the heavy sea. After a night of severe exposure we returned to camp to find many of our tents flattened by the gale. After a day's rest the effort was renewed on the 14th, but as the admiral reported that the sea was too rough for even the smaller steamers to go outside, the plan was modified so as to try drawing the boats on their trucks, though the number of our draft animals was as yet very small. [Footnote: Id., pp. 426, 427.] What with the heavy surf on the beach and the deep, soft sand beyond it, the weak teams could not pull the trucks far, and gave out before we reached the chosen position. As we turned back after midnight the moon was just rising, and the scene was a wild one, with the flying clouds and the foaming waves silvered by the moonlight; but the rarest sight was, just as half the moon's great disk was above the horizon, a ship of war stood against it, exactly framed in the semicircle of light as if drawn in black on the silver surface. The plan was an interesting one and would probably have succeeded in favorable weather, but the winter storm forbade. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 437.]

Then came the resumption of the original purpose, and I was assigned to command the column advancing from Smithville up the other bank of the river. One brigade of Couch's division (Moore's) had arrived, and it was ordered to report to me. Ames's division was also in the column till Fort Anderson was evacuated in the night of the 18th, when it rejoined Terry and I moved on against the Confederate position at Town Creek. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 960; pt. ii. pp. 492, 493.] Ferrying the unfordable stream, Hagood's brigade was attacked and routed on the 20th, capturing two cannon and nearly 400 prisoners, including Colonel Simonton the commandant, Hagood himself having gone to Wilmington. [Footnote:Id., pp. 495, 509.] On the 21st we pressed on to Brunswick Ferry, and saved part of the pontoon bridge there which the enemy had not been able to destroy completely. An advance-guard was got over on Eagle Island, the large swampy island lying in front of Wilmington, where the remnant of Hagood's brigade held the narrow causeway. Bragg had been to Richmond on an official visit, but was back at Wilmington and saw that the time to evacuate had come. The naval stores were set on fare, and the dense black pillars of smoke from the warehouses of resin and turpentine told us the story. [Footnote:Id., pp. 1241-1245.]

My route from Town Creek around Mcllhenny's mill-pond to Brunswick Ferry had taken me some three miles back from the river, and the broad swamps and rice-fields intervening made communication with General Schofield on the "Spaulding," very slow and difficult. [Footnote: Official Atlas, pl. cxxxii.] The sequel well illustrates the importance of complete confidence on the part of a subordinate that his chief will sanction and heartily approve the use of full discretion in circumstances where quick and full intercourse is impossible. By long service with General Schofield, I knew that he was no martinet, snubbing any independence of action, but an officer of sound and calm judgment, fairly considering the reasons we might have for any departure from the letter of an order. General Terry's troops were facing the greater part of Hoke's division in a position nearly opposite the mouth of Town Creek, and were meeting with stubborn resistance. It was known that Hardee's command, having evacuated Charleston, was moving northward to unite with the Confederates in North Carolina, and it was supposed to aim at reaching Wilmington. There were rumors that he had already joined Bragg.

In these circumstances General Schofield had said to me, by a dispatch in the morning, "If you can destroy the bridge over Brunswick River or break the railroad to-day, do so, but be ready to cross the river early this evening near the mouth of Town Creek." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 520] Early in the afternoon I reported progress, saying: "My head of column reached this place [Brunswick Ferry] about one o'clock. The rebels had partially destroyed their pontoon bridge, but from the creek I got several boats, and have put a regiment over on the island. They got most of the way across, when the enemy opened with one gun, commanding the straight road. As the rest of the island seems impracticably swampy, this checked our reconnoissance; but there can be little doubt the rebels are evacuating. They have made immense fires, the smoke of which you must have seen, indicating that they are destroying turpentine, etc. A few skirmishers were on the opposite side of Brunswick River when we reached it, but they ran at once. The enemy has destroyed all flatboats within reach, but I may hunt some up. I am pushing a reconnoissance further up the river, by way of threatening to cross above the island, and so hasten their movements. I shall put my command in position covering the crossing and the Georgetown road, and watch the movements, in the town. The railroad bridge across Brunswick River is partially destroyed, and we hear the cars on the other side of the town from here. I cannot doubt that General Terry will have an open road in the morning, and think from the general indications that I am entirely secure here. I will face in all directions and get all the intelligence I can, while awaiting orders. There is no railroad or other bridge over Cape Fear River." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 521.]

Whilst this report was on the road to Schofield, a messenger who left the general about noon was slowly working his way to me, bearing this message: "My last report from General Terry indicates that he will not be able to force the enemy back from the position held by him last evening. General Terry thinks Hoke has his whole force in his front. It will therefore be necessary to transfer your troops to the east bank of the river to-night. The men will be put across in small boats near the mouth of Town Creek, unless Terry succeeds in effecting a lodgment higher up. In the latter event I will signal you. Otherwise move your troops to the mouth of Town Creek without further orders. Let your artillery and animals go down to Fort Anderson. I will have them sent from that place by steamers to Federal Point this evening. If you can destroy the bridges over Brunswick River to-day, do so; but in any event be ready to commence crossing the river by dusk or earlier, if practicable. You might perhaps send back a brigade or two while the others are doing the work." [Footnote:Ibid.]

At six o'clock, in the dusk of the evening, this letter reached me, and I instantly replied: "Your dispatch directing movement is only just received, the messenger having lost his way. As I am eight miles from the mouth of Town Creek, and it is already dark, your directions cannot be literally followed, and the circumstances impress me so strongly with the belief that the enemy are about to evacuate Wilmington to-night that I venture to send one brigade now and wait further orders before withdrawing all. It will take all night to get the whole command to Town Creek, and it seems impossible to cross them all, beginning at an hour so much later than you anticipated when sending the dispatch. Some engineers on the railroad who have come into my lines, several other citizens, and a number of slaves, all agree in reporting the intention of evacuating immediately. The destruction of immense quantities of property since I came up this evening looks the same way. I have collected and repaired nearly all of the pontoons and materials of the bridge, and had begun relaying them when your dispatch came. I cannot retire my own force now without it appearing a retreat. I would be entirely willing to stay here with one brigade, and should feel quite confident that I could at any time bring it off safely, if we remained here several days even. Thinking you would not desire more troops at Town Creek than you can cross to-night, I ... think it right to send the one brigade, and if more can cross, I can still send them, so as to be not much behind the others if the messenger makes reasonable haste. I believe I mentioned in a former dispatch that the rebels themselves destroyed the Brunswick River railroad bridge." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 522.]

The orderly who reached me had been landed from a small boat and made his way to me on foot, and as he had eight or nine miles to walk by a wretched road, it was not strange that he was late in reaching me. Giving him his supper whilst I wrote my dispatch, I then mounted him on a horse, and sent with him another mounted man to bring the return message. My first messenger had tried to reach the river through the swamps at several points, but had not succeeded in getting within hailing distance of any vessels in the stream. He happened, however, to fall in with the second messengers in his wanderings, and was now taken to the place where a small boat was to be sent, and so it happened that both my dispatches reached Schofield together, but not till about half-past ten. Meanwhile, the general having heard nothing whatever from me, and getting unfavorable reports from Terry, wrote me again at a quarter-past seven.

He said: "My orderlies and your signal officer seem to have got lost, and I have heard nothing from you since 10.30 A. M. I sent an order to you by an orderly on foot about noon, but do not feel at all certain that it has reached you. I want you to move back abreast of the fleet, just above the mouth of Town Creek, to-night, and be ready to cross the river at dawn of day in the morning. Send all your wagons and horses to Fort Anderson. The men will cross in small boats. Better send a regiment with your wagons, horses, and artillery. Should the enemy be in force in your front, it might be necessary to cross Town Creek before crossing the river. About this, act according to your judgment. I intended you to cross the river to-night, but it is now too late." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 522.]

But whilst this last orderly was on his dark and weary way to me, my two dispatches finally got through, and at 10.20 Schofield wrote me from the cabin of the "Spaulding" as follows: "Your dispatch of 6 P.M. is just received, and is highly satisfactory. The one of an earlier date, but the hour not given, came at the same time. About seven o'clock I sent another to you directing you to come back. I hope this will reach you in time to take its place. My orders were based on General Terry's report of an increase of the force in his front, and that of prisoners that Hardee's forces had arrived from Charleston. I think you would certainly have learned it if the latter were true That you have sent one brigade back is well. You may send another as soon as you get this dispatch. Keep the other two where you are until daylight in the morning. Then, if the rebels have gone, you can enter the town, taking care to hold the river crossings. If the enemy has not gone, or you are not positive that he is going, then move back and cross the river as before directed." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvit. pt. ii. p. 522.]

Immediately after this, Schofield wrote me another dispatch, briefer, but of the same general purport. [Footnote: Id., p. 523.] It was probably sent by way of precaution, in case any accident happened to the bearer of the other. Arrangements had been made to get over some horsemen so as to speed these dispatches, and they came through to me by midnight. But meanwhile my perplexity as to my duty was intensified. I had put over the Sixteenth Kentucky upon Eagle Island, and made them throw up a breastwork across the cause-way facing that of the enemy, which was near the main channel of Cape Fear River. They were exploring the swamps, seeking information and preparing to force the position in the morning. My confidence in my forecast was such that I did not cease work on the repair of the pontoons, and had the crossing ready for use late in the evening, but awaited further orders with great anxiety. At 11.45, however, came the order dated at 7.15, reiterating the direction to withdraw. Moore's brigade had gone under the first order, Henderson's was waiting ready to march, and I started it for Town Creek. [Footnote: Id., p. 524.] Reilly's (Colonel Sterl in command) began to follow. The march in a dark night made it proper to leave reasonable intervals between the brigades, and I was still waiting with Casement's brigade, and had not destroyed the pontoon bridge, when, at midnight, I got Schofield's dispatch of 10.20, which had come through in less than half the time other messages had taken, under his eager orders to force the horses through at speed. I at once recalled Sterl, and with great satisfaction wrote to the General, "Your dispatch of 10.20 received in time to stop two brigades. Henderson's and Moore's have gone forward and will report at the river above Town Creek. I will inform you of any changes in the morning. The railroad employes who came in to me informed me positively that Hardee's troops had not come here." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 523.] My outpost on the island was replaced, and before day dawned we knew that the last of the enemy had disappeared from our immediate front and that Wilmington was evacuated. Bragg had carefully removed all boats from our side of the channel, but citizens anxious to prevent us from firing on the town came over in skiffs, and we learned that the Confederate forces had marched away toward Goldsborough, leaving the way open for Terry's march into the city, which took place in the early morning of the 22d, which we were happy to recall was Washington's Birthday.

It has seemed worth while to give the correspondence at such length, because it well illustrates the difficulties under which officers must labor in war, and the necessity for a good deal of freedom of action and of discretion in deciding upon his course, when the commander of a detached column finds his communication with headquarters obstructed and retarded by accidental circumstances. Had General Schofield's methods been rigid in requiring literal obedience, my command would have abandoned the advantages we had gained, and the campaign might have taken quite another turn. My complete confidence in the liberality of his judgment when the facts should be all known, encouraged me to a course which would otherwise have been impossible. [Footnote: In 1870 Moltke had adopted the wise rule of leaving to subordinates of the higher grades very large discretion, and to avoid trammelling them by detailed orders or by prematurely communicated plans. "The very lack of instructions gave them liberty and imposed on them the duty of acting on their own responsibility, in case unforeseen events should require such prompt action that orders from the Supreme Commander could not be waited for." (Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, Strategy, vol. i. p. 324.) It was even looked upon as "an unwarranted censure" on the subordinate "if anything was enjoined unnecessarily," or which was within the proper knowledge and discretion of the officer. Id., vol. ii. p. 39.] There was with me a very efficient squad of the Signal Corps, under Lieutenant Ketchum, which had kept up flag communication with the "Spaulding" and across the river in our advance from Smithville to Town Creek, but when we advanced to Brunswick Ferry, Mr. Ketchum found it impossible, on account of the course of Brunswick River and the dense woods upon the banks, to establish any station from which he could communicate with any of the vessels in the river below, or with General Terry on the east bank of the Cape Fear. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. pp. 915, 916.] This threw us unexpectedly upon messengers as the only go-betweens, and led to the embarrassments which have been described.



CHAPTER XLVII

THE CONFEDERACY IN STRAITS--JOHNSTON COMMANDS IN THE CAROLINAS--OUR OPERATIONS FROM NEW BERNE--BATTLE OF KINSTON

The Confederates lose Charleston and Columbia--Facing a crisis--Hopeless apathy of Southern people--Mr. Davis's perplexity--Beauregard startles him--Lee calls Johnston to command--Personal relations of leading officers--Dwindling armies--The cavalry--Assignments of generals--The Beaufort and New Berne line--Am ordered to New Berne--Provisional corps--Advance to cover railway building--Dover and Gum swamps--Bragg concentrates to oppose us--Position near Kinston--Bragg's plan of attack--Our own movements--Condition of railroad and river--Our advance to Wise's Forks and Southwest Creek--Precautions--Conference with Schofield--Battle of Kinston--Enemy attack our left front--Rout of Upham's brigade--Main line firm--Ruger's division reaches the field--Enemy repulsed--End of first day's fight--Extending our trenches on the left--Sharp skirmishing of the 9th--Bragg's reinforcements--His attack of the both--Final repulse and retreat of the enemy.

Upon our occupation of Wilmington, Bragg retreated northward along the line of the railroad toward Goldsborough, which was the crossing of the Wilmington and Weldon Railway with that from New Berne to Raleigh. Sherman had captured the capital of South Carolina, and in his movement northward his left wing had followed the railroad from Columbia toward Charlotte, N. C, as far as Winnsborough, forty miles, for the purpose of making a permanent break in that line of communication before turning his columns eastward toward Cheraw and Fayetteville on his way to Goldsborough, the rendezvous he had fixed for his junction with Schofield's army. Beauregard, whose command now included South Carolina, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1202, 1204.] had moved with the forces under his immediate command from Augusta, through Columbia to Charlotte, and was calling to him all the Confederate troops operating against Sherman. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1193, 1202, 1217, 1238.] On the 14th of February he had ordered Hardee to evacuate Charleston, and the unwelcome proof that South Carolina was lost so alarmed Mr. Davis that he urged Hardee to hold on as long as possible. But both Lee and Beauregard became uneasy lest Hardee should be caught before he could join the rest, and despite Mr. Davis's bitter disappointment, the evacuation was made in the night of the 17th, Hardee being sick abed for a few days, and turning over the command to General McLaws. [Footnote: Id., pp. 1177, 1181, 1195, 1201-1202, 1204, 1223, 1258.]

The loss of Charleston, the original cradle of secession, seemed a portent to the people of the South, and well-nigh destroyed all hope. Governor Magrath of South Carolina had written Mr. Davis, a month before, that the fate of the Confederacy was involved in the early movements of Sherman's march from Savannah, and that he was in earnest correspondence with the Governors of North Carolina and Georgia, urging extraordinary efforts. "Richmond will surely fall when Charleston is lost," he said, adding emphatically, "To retain Richmond until Charleston is lost is to sacrifice both." [Footnote: Id., p. 1035.] Davis was not blind to the consequences, or to the nature of the crisis. A week before Magrath's letter was written, the Confederate President had sent a dispatch to Governor Brown of Georgia, declaring the absolute necessity of making Hardee strong enough to stop Sherman on the line of the Combahee, which he rightly said was stronger than any position that could be occupied further north. He ended with the appeal, "We must look forward, and leave discussions of the past to a more convenient season." [Footnote: Id., p. 1016.] Governor Vance of North Carolina issued a proclamation powerfully appealing to his people for a final rally, using the failure of the recent peace conference at Fort Monroe as proof that there was only subjugation offered us, the mere details of which they [Lincoln and Seward] proposed to settle. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 1189.] But the whole South was already in apathetic despair under the conviction of their helplessness to check the triumphant march of Sherman's 60,000 veterans or prevent his junction with Schofield's 30,000. Instead of growing by an enthusiastic rally of the old men and the boys, the Southern army was dwindling by steady small streams of deserters, no longer able to repress the impulse to go to their helpless families within the Union lines. [Footnote: Lee to Vance, Id., p. 1270.] The appeals of the governors produced no result, or only called out responses in the press, never ventured before, saying the desperate efforts had already been made, the physical power of the States was exhausted, it was vain to talk of independence, it was time to make real overtures for peace. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1250-1255.]

The military outlook for the South was certainly gloomy enough. Distrusting Beauregard's ability to deal with his perplexing problem, Mr. Davis had asked Lee (on the 19th) whether it was possible for him to get away from Petersburg long enough to go to Beauregard and advise him after a personal conference. [Footnote:Id., p. 1222.] But Lee could not leave his post for a moment with any confidence that Grant's iron grip would not crush the defences of Petersburg and bring the final struggle. Davis became still more troubled when, on the 21st, Beauregard sent him a dispatch indicating his belief that Lee must join him at Salisbury with part of his forces, say 20,000 men, give Sherman battle there," crush him, then to concentrate all forces against Grant, and then to march on Washington to dictate a peace." Beauregard's evident opinion that he was wholly unable to cope with Sherman was much more depressing than his light-hearted suggestion of marching on Washington to dictate a peace was inspiring. Davis sent it to Lee, saying it was "of a startling character," and urged that the General-in-Chief should direct the concentration of the forces in the Carolinas. He sent also General Gilmer, his chief of engineers, to Beauregard to examine the situation, to advise with him and report. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1229, 1237, 1238.]

In this condition of affairs, Beauregard's retreat into North Carolina, where Bragg commanded and was senior in rank, made a new complication; whilst the fall of Wilmington and the danger of Hardee's being cut off before he could unite with the Confederate forces trying to resist Sherman, made a climax of embarrassments which imperatively required the appointment of some one to command in chief in the Carolinas. The same current of opinion in the Confederate Congress which had resulted in Lee's assignment by law (February 9th) [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 1.] to command all the Confederate armies, indicated General Johnston for the post second in importance. Indeed, the knowledge of Mr. Davis's determination not to intrust Johnston with another army in the field entered into the motives for taking the military command out of the President's hands, for it was understood that Lee believed Johnston to be the man best fitted for the second place. Action could be no longer delayed, and the very day of our occupation of Wilmington, Lee telegraphed to Johnston to assume command, concentrate all available forces, and drive back Sherman. [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 1247.] For the moment Bragg was not directed to report to Johnston, but consideration for the unpleasant personal relations between them since the Atlanta campaign could not stand long in the way. Beauregard accepted loyally his subordination to Johnston, and, his health not being very strong, was assigned at his own request to administrative duties at Raleigh, including the collection and forwarding of troops, their supply in the field and the management of the relations to the civil authorities of North Carolina, with nominal position of second in command. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1248, 1399.]

Johnston had been at Lincolnton, N. C., when notified of his appointment, and in accepting the call to duty, gave his opinion that it was too late to concentrate troops enough to drive back Sherman. He promised, however, to learn from Beauregard the actual situation, and to do all in his power to collect the army and resist Sherman's advance. [Footnote: Id., p. 1047.] He met Beauregard at Charlotte, and on the 25th of February assumed command. As to his means of resistance, the returns show a significant dwindling in each of his corps. Hardee had reported, on January 20th, 25,290 present for duty in his department. [Footnote: Id., p. 1032.] Hood's army at Tupelo, at the same date, returned 18,708 infantry and artillery, which were soon nearly all in motion for the Carolinas. [Footnote: Id., vol. xlv. pt. i. p. 664. General Taylor volunteered to send the whole to Beauregard except French's division, which he said was very weak. Some Mississippi troops were given a short furlough, others took "French leave" (Id., vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 1059, 1174, 1194), and delays in transportation occurred, so that it is very hard to say how many of the Army of Tennessee were actually in the final combats in North Carolina. They all seem to have gathered there before the final surrender at Greensborough.] Bragg's return for his command in North Carolina on February 10th was 11,206. [Footnote:Id., p. 1154.] Besides these, there were some militia from Georgia and South Carolina estimated at 1450, [Footnote:Id., p. 1084.] and Butler's division of cavalry, more than 3000 strong, had been sent from Lee's army in Virginia. [Footnote: Ibid.] Here were, then, between 55,000 and 60,000 men apparently available to oppose Sherman, and making a larger army than the Confederate generals attributed to him when he started from Savannah. [Footnote: When Beauregard took command of the forces in South Carolina, etc., on February 16th, he reckoned them at "about 20,000 effective infantry and artillery, more or less demoralized," and said of Sherman's army that it numbered "nearly double our force." (Dispatch to Lee, Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 1202.) This would make Sherman about 40,000 strong. Beauregard's underestimate of his own force is in accordance with the common habit of officers who are somewhat discouraged and wish to be reinforced.] It was not strange, therefore, that when, at a conference of Beauregard with Hardee and others in Augusta on February 3d, the troops relied on for the campaign were estimated at 33,450, [Footnote: Id., p. 1084.] Mr. Davis noted by his indorsement on the paper that the previous returns showed a larger force present for duty. [Footnote: Id., p. 1086.] He however added that the language "relied on as effectives" might account for the difference. But when on the 21st Beauregard, in the dispatch proposing that Lee should send part of his army to Salisbury, N. C., said, "Hardee and myself can collect about 15,000 exclusive of Cheatham and Stewart, not likely to reach in time," [Footnote: Id., p. 1238.] the startling effect on the Confederate President was the most natural thing in the world. Armies seemed to vanish in thin air.

On taking command, Johnston had accepted his predecessor's estimates of both his own forces and those of Sherman. From Charlotte, N. C., he wrote Lee that his opponent now seemed to be moving eastward, aiming at Fayetteville. This place he thought he might make the point of concentration for Hardee's troops, coming from Charleston to Cheraw by railroad, and those with Beauregard, which were in the main the divisions of Hood's army, coming forward piecemeal, and now amounting to something over 9000 men. He suggested that Bragg should join him at Fayetteville also. [Footnote: Id., p. 1271. At the end of February, the portions of S. D. Lee's corps which had joined Beauregard had 2502 present for duty, Cheatham's 4697, Stewart's 1694, Engineers 185; total, 9078. (Id., pp. 1285, 1326.) The rest of the Army of Tennessee were still in Georgia on their way to the front.] The Confederate cavalry was now led by Wade Hampton, who was made lieutenant-general to outrank Wheeler, who was not regarded equal to the responsibility. The latter retained two divisions, and the rank of corps commander under Hampton. [Footnote: The complaints of marauding by Wheeler's cavalry had been loud and bitter, and inefficiency was charged. D. H. Hill to Hardee, Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 1046; Do. to Iverson, pp. 1047, 1068; Beauregard to Lee, p. 1165; Davis to Hampton, 1207. For Wheeler's earnest defence, see Id., pp. 987, 1004.] As soon as it was evident that Sherman was likely to reach the North Carolina border, Johnston was authorized to control Bragg's operations also. [Footnote:Id., p. 1320.] This was, of course, a personal grief to the latter, who asked to be relieved; but in the critical condition of affairs personal feelings had to give way, and Bragg's request went unanswered. [Footnote: Id., p. 1328.] He did not insist upon it and gave loyal support to Johnston. General D. H. Hill had been sent from Virginia to report to Beauregard, and was commanding at Augusta, Ga., when Sherman's march eastward from Columbia relieved Augusta from danger, and Hill at his own request was ordered to join Beauregard. S. D. Lee was absent from his corps by reason of a wound he had received at Nashville, and Hill was assigned to its temporary command. [Footnote: Id., pp. 1002, 1003, 1272, 1317.] The growing decay of discipline and organization was shown by the irregularity of reports, and for the few weeks the war still went on, Johnston had to content himself with abbreviated returns, which contained only the numbers of effectives and aggregates present. [Footnote: Id., p. 1382.] Even these were not regularly sent up, and could not be made to agree with the lists of paroles when the surrender finally occurred. [Footnote: See chap. li. post.]

Upon our occupation of Wilmington, Schofield turned his attention at once to the opening, of the line from Beaufort and New Berne to Kinston and Goldsborough. Terry's troops were sent to follow Bragg northward. Couch's division of the Twenty-third Corps joined mine at Wilmington. Meagher's provisional command of detachments of Sherman's army had reached New Berne; but its commander had given such dissatisfaction by his failure to remain with it and conduct its shipment from Annapolis, that Grant directed that he should be relieved and sent home. Such had been the result of a spicy correspondence between Grant and Halleck which called up poor Meagher's notorious failings. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 305-306, 316-318, 501, 509, 561.] Schofield had asked for the assignment of Terry to a corps to comprise the troops in the department not belonging to the Twenty-third Corps, and of myself to the permanent command of the latter corps;[Footnote: Id., p. 559.] but, pending action on this, he determined to send me to New Berne to take command of the so-called District of Beaufort and the troops assembling there, which would constitute three divisions. [Footnote: Id., pp. 579, 580.] General Palmer, who had been there for a long time, coming in the small steamer "Escort" to visit Schofield and consult concerning the advance from that base, I went back with him, and was accompanied by General Carter, whose coming from Tennessee has already been mentioned and who was to supersede Meagher. [Footnote:Id., pt. i. pp. 930, 931.] As my assignment to this duty was intended to be temporary, I took only part of my staff with me, and assigned General Reilly, who had now joined us, to the temporary command of the division. General Couch was assigned to command the two divisions of our corps which were at Wilmington. [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. pp. 581, 607, 620.] A storm delayed the departure of the "Escort" from Cape Fear Inlet, but we reached New Berne in the evening of the last day of February. Next day I formally assumed command and organized the forces, distributing the garrison troops and Meagher's men between the two divisions to be commanded by Palmer and Carter, but keeping Ruger's division of the Twenty-third Corps intact. This last had been sent direct to Beaufort and arrived there about the same time with myself. It had not been with us on the Cape Fear River. An immediate advance was ordered for the 2d of March, to cover the work of railroad building. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 607, 620, 637, 638.]

Colonel Wright, chief of railway construction, had joined Sherman at Savannah, and from thence had been sent to Schofield to rebuild the New Berne-Goldsborough road under his directions. [Footnote: Id., pp. 157, 356, 384.] Palmer's forces occupied a position at Batchelder's Creek, nine miles above New Berne on the road to Kinston, and the railroad building began there. Had we been well provided with wagon-trains, it would have been easy to march at once to Kinston, on the left bank of the Neuse, a little over thirty miles from Newberne, and hold that place whilst the railroad was built, obstructions removed from the river, and easy communications opened both by rail and by water. But we were almost destitute of wagons, having only ten to a division. This tied us close to the end of the rails, for after carrying our necessary baggage to the camping-place, it was the utmost the few wagons could do to bring rations and ammunition a very few miles from the nearest temporary station on the railroad. Dover and Gum swamps were practically continuous to within three miles of Kinston, and steady rains had put most of the road under water. [Footnote:Id., pp. 654, 683.] This necessarily slow progress gave the enemy time to arrange for concentrating upon us.

The importance of trying to check our columns advancing from the sea-coast was seen by General Johnston as soon as he learned the situation in North Carolina. On the 3d of March, when he supposed Schofield to be continuing his movements up Cape Fear River, he had inquired of Bragg whether it were not feasible to interpose between Schofield and Hardee. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 1318, 1329.] As soon as it was known that Schofield was not marching against Hardee, Bragg sent Hoke with his division to Kinston, and on the 6th telegraphed to Johnston that my forces were advancing and were within nine miles of the town. He believed that the union with him of the troops near Goldsborough would "insure a victory." [Footnote: Id., pp. 1334.] Johnston immediately ordered all the forces he was moving towards Hardee to report to Bragg at Goldsborough for use in a quick effort to defeat us, with the purpose of uniting them with Hardee immediately afterward to strike at Sherman's advancing columns. [Footnote: Ibid..] It was boldly conceived, and was manifestly the best plan the circumstances admitted. All the detachments of the Army of Tennessee were hurried without change of cars toward Kinston. D. H. Hill had command of them as ranking officer present. It was not pleasant for him to report to Bragg, for a bitter quarrel begun in the Chickamauga campaign had never been appeased, and in giving him the order, Johnston added, "I beg you to forget the past for this emergency." [Footnote: Id., p. 1338.] From Davis downward, personal griefs had to be smothered in the crisis, and it is due to them all to remember that they did work together earnestly for their dying cause.

On the 7th of March, Hill reached Kinston with Lee's corps. Hoke's division had preceded him and advanced to Southwest Creek and occupied the lines of intrenchments earlier made along its left bank. This stream was a tributary of the Neuse River and was then unfordable. It described roughly a curve with a radius of about three miles around Kinston, and had for a long time been regarded as the principal defensive line against National troops advancing from New Berne. Several roads radiated from Kinston, crossing Southwest Creek. The Neuse road kept near the bank of the river, going east. Then came the railroad following a nearly straight line to New Berne. The Dover road forked from the Neuse road not far from the town, and took a devious way through the swamps in the same general direction. The upper Trent road ran more nearly south toward Trenton, and followed the course of the Trent River. The Wilmington road went southwesterly toward the city of that name. The several bridges over the creek were from a mile to two miles apart, but had been destroyed or dismantled, and earthworks for artillery had been prepared commanding them. The whole constituted a formidable line of fieldworks when held by an adequate force. Whitford's brigade and a detachment of cavalry had been the only Confederate force at Kinston at the beginning of our campaign, but Bragg had now assembled there Hagood's brigade, which had numbered 2000 in front of Wilmington, and a similar force of North Carolina militia under General Baker, besides Hill and Hoke. [Footnote: Hill's Report, Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 1086.] Johnston had also informed Bragg that Cheatham's corps and more than half of Stewart's were on the way by rail, under the same orders as Hill's. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. p. 1339.] These constituted in fact all of Johnston's army except Hardee's column, which was still in South Carolina.

The necessity for haste was such, however, that upon Hill's arrival in the night of the 7th, Bragg determined to attack me at once, in the belief that he was strong enough to do so successfully. Hill's corps was accordingly marched to Southwest Creek before day, and relieved Hoke's division in the works extending from the Dover road crossing to the railroad, whilst Hoke, with Clayton's division of Lee's corps besides his own, marched to the upper Trent and Wilmington bridges with orders to sweep down and attack my lines in flank and rear. The plank had been relaid on the bridges which had been held by outposts, and a new bridge had been built of felled trees between the Dover road bridge and the railroad. At the sound of Hoke's attack, Hill was to cross by the last-mentioned bridges, and fall upon our front with all the rest of the Confederate forces. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 1087.]

On our side, Colonel Wright had found that some miles of the railroad had only been partially destroyed, and as iron for six miles had been received when I reached New Berne, he was able to put seven miles of track in passable condition by the evening of the 4th. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 654, 683.] On that day I had concentrated at Core Creek, twenty miles from New Berne by the wagon roads, and the head of the rails was only one or two miles behind. On the 6th Palmer's and Carter's divisions were advanced to Gum Swamp, seven miles further, taking four days' rations, and Ruger's was to follow on the 7th. On this march I found that for five miles beyond Core Creek the railway had only been capsized, ties and rails together, and was lying in the ditch by the roadside. [Footnote: Id., pp. 706-708.] Relying on the more rapid construction this would enable Colonel Wright to make, I ordered a still further advance for the 7th, hoping to reach Southwest Creek. There we must expect to halt for several days, for the total destruction of the railroad for the last ten or twelve miles from Kinston made it probable that a mile a day was the utmost the construction corps could rebuild, to say nothing of the bridging which would also be necessary.

For our own sake, as well as to provide for getting forward large quantities of supplies for Sherman's army when we should join him, it would be necessary to organize a line of river transportation to supplement the railroad. Heavy obstructions to navigation had been placed in the Neuse River, a little above New Berne, as a defence against an iron-clad ram the Confederates had built at Kinston. As, however, she could only come down the river on a freshet, owing to her great draft, I had, upon leaving New Berne, ordered that the obstructions be removed, and light-draft steamboats and flats procured to bring supplies to some point near our camp, or to ferry troops across if I found it advisable to shift my line of operations to the north bank of the river. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 707.]

On Tuesday, the 7th, the command was in motion, Palmer's division following the railroad, except Claassen's brigade, which had been sent the previous afternoon by the Dover road to Wise's Forks, where it crosses the lower Trent road, which ran diagonally across our front toward the Neuse River. In the skirmish at Wise's Forks, and from a deserter, it was learned that Hoke had joined the Kinston forces with his division, and there were rumors of other reinforcements arriving. Advancing along the railroad, Palmer reached the drier ground near Southwest Creek and came under artillery fire from guns intrenched on the other side of the creek. The country here was wooded, and was traversed by an old road, called the British road, running parallel to the creek from half a mile to a mile from it. The lower Trent road also crossed the railroad not far from the British road crossing. Palmer halted his line in front of the British road covering all the crossings, and advanced outposts and pickets to the creek. Boughton's brigade was on the left of the railroad, and Harland's on the right. The latter detached a regiment to the Neuse road to guard against any attempt by the enemy to cross the creek beyond our right. Major Dow of my staff was also sent with a troop of cavalry to reconnoitre the banks of the river, seeking for a place where steamboats might land supplies and communicate with us. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 723-725.] Ruger's division moved forward from Core Creek to Gum Swamp.

On my left, the Twelfth New York Cavalry, Colonel Savage, reconnoitred both Trent roads, under orders to reach out as far to the south as they could, covering Claassen's position at Wise's Forks and giving early notice of any hostile movement in the vicinity. Carter's division delayed its march till it could load up with rations and then followed the Dover road to Claassen's position. On reaching Wise's Forks we found that Claassen had most of his brigade at the crossing of the British road in front, with a detachment of 300 men at Jackson's Mills, where the Dover road crossed the creek. He had smaller detachments also upon the British road on both flanks. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. pp. 976, 981, 989.] I directed General Carter to relieve Claassen's brigade with one of his, that Claassen might rejoin Palmer and make the latter strong enough to spare a detachment to test the condition of the Neuse road crossing of the creek and the presence of the enemy there. Carter sent Upham's brigade to the British road crossing to relieve Claassen, and put the other two in line across the Dover road in front of Wise's Forks, Malloy's on the right of the road and Splaine's on the left with a recurved flank. Upham seems to have marched the whole of his brigade to Jackson's Mills and to have left only a picket post at the British road. He established a skirmish line in rifle-pits close to the creek, and placed a section of artillery which was with him where it would command the bridge site on the Dover road. His picket line connected with Palmer's division on the right, and with the outpost at the British road on the left. [Footnote:Id., pp. 993, 997.] Toward evening the cavalry reported that they had found a picket post of the enemy at the bridge on the upper Trent road, had driven it off, taken up the plank of the bridge and piled them on the hither side of the creek, and had established there a picket of their own. Their scouting parties reported no enemy at the Wilmington road crossing. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 976.] The division commanders were directed to have Southwest Creek in front carefully reconnoitred, to find narrow places where an infantry crossing might be made by an improvised bridge of felled trees. [Footnote:Ibid.]

Map

My habit was to keep my own headquarters well at the front, and I had purposed moving them from Gum Swamp to Wise's Forks on the 7th, but during the day I received word that General Schofield had arrived at Beaufort from Wilmington, coming by sea. We arranged that he should come up for a consultation with me next morning, and to facilitate this, I left my headquarters with Ruger's division, and after a personal visit to Palmer and Carter, I rode back to Gum Swamp in the evening. General Schofield was to come up to the end of the track on the railroad in the morning, and I sent led horses to meet him. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 722-724.] The telegraph was made to keep pace with the progress of the railway, and from its upper station we had the aid of flag signals along the railroad bed to Palmer's headquarters. [Footnote: Id., pt i. p. 918.] The information we had received of Hoke's presence made it all the more important that we should get out of the swamps, where we could only operate by head of column, to the drier region along Southwest Creek, where the lower Trent road and the British road would give us communication between our flanks and some chance to manoeuvre. These reasons had made me push forward on the 7th, though the movement put us ten miles above the head of the rails and made it sure that we should be short of supplies. As soon as the troops were in position the few wagons with them were unloaded and hurried back, first for ammunition and then for rations. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. p. 734.] We then had no knowledge of the arrival of any part of Hood's army in North Carolina, and although my provisional corps was far short of being solidly organized, and the troops were either new or unused to field service, I felt no concern lest Hoke should take the offensive alone.

General Schofield had joined me at Gum Swamp about nine o'clock on the morning of the 8th, and after our conference we had mounted to ride to General Palmer's headquarters to see what prospect there might be for securing a crossing near the railroad which would permit preparation for rebuilding the railroad bridge. A note now came from General Carter at Wise's Forks telling of information received from a negro that a large body of the enemy had crossed Southwest Creek at the Wilmington road early in the morning. As the cavalry had a picket at the upper Trent bridge and were supposed to be patrolling beyond the Wilmington road, the information did not seem threatening, but I sent back directions to have the cavalry ordered to do their work thoroughly by instantly testing the truth of the information. Carter was also ordered to support the cavalry with a regiment of infantry. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 734.] The message from the front was followed almost instantly by another, saying that a heavy force of the enemy had penetrated between Upham's brigade and the rest of the division, almost simultaneously with a report from the cavalry that their picket had been driven from the bridge at the Trent road. As that picket was two miles in front of Upham's left on the British road, it was too evident that the duty of the horsemen had not been well done. Ruger was ordered to march his division at speed to the front, and we galloped to Wise's Forks. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. pp. 977, 994.]

The account I have before given of the enemy's dispositions for the day's work [Footnote: Ante, pp. 429, 430.] makes it easy to understand the situation as we found it. Hoke, with his own and Clayton's divisions, had turned northward on the British road after getting over Southwest Creek, and as he approached the Dover road, had deployed and advanced upon Upham's flank. The latter, upon the first intimation of an enemy's approach, had hurried the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts to the British road and placed it in line about a quarter of a mile south of the Dover road, which was, of course, his connection with the rest of the division. He also ordered to the same point the section of artillery, and directed the left battalion of his other regiment (Fifteenth Connecticut) to change front also to the south. These orders were judicious, but the odds were too great to make them successful. Far outflanked on either hand, the Massachusetts regiment was put to rout, all the horses of one of the guns were killed, and though the men cut the traces and tried to save the gun by hand, they had to abandon it, while the other retreated on the run toward the main position. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. pp. 997-999.] General Hill had crossed the creek at the improvised bridge on hearing the sound of Hoke's engagement, but finding a swamp between him and Upham's right, had to make a circuit of it, driving back our pickets in the interval between Carter's and Palmer's divisions. Turning toward the noise of Hoke's firing, he intercepted the right battalion of Upham's Connecticut regiment, and took many of them prisoners. [Footnote:Id., p. 1087.] Most of the rest of the regiment finding Hoke's division partly surrounding them, and all other retreat cut off by Hill, surrendered to Hoke. Colonel Upham and most of the Massachusetts regiment succeeded in reaching our main lines, though in confusion. All this was not done, however, without fighting, which took time, and as the whole engagement was in forest or swamp, the enemy was a good deal delayed in his movements and in rectification of lines.

When we reached the field Carter had gone in person toward Upham's position, having first sent a regiment forward on the Dover road to try to reopen communication with him. Palmer was ordered to send his reserve brigade rapidly to extend his left and assist Carter. But as there was still an interval between them, the regiment of cavalry which had come in on the left was transferred to the centre and ordered to make a strong skirmishing fight till Ruger's division could arrive on the ground. Palmer at the same time was ordered to demonstrate strongly toward the creek. Riding forward on the Dover road, I found Carter with the regiment from his division, still energetically striving to reach Upham. As the sound of the battle showed that the enemy was also in front of our centre, it was evident that we must make a concentration of our forces till the divisions were in touch with each other. I therefore directed Carter to make his main line in front of Wise's Forks as solid as possible, concentrating his artillery near the Dover road, and to limit the activity of the advanced regiment to bold skirmishing, drawing it back to the main line as the enemy advanced in force.

Hoke had evidently supposed that Upham's detachment on the British road was the flank of our principal position, and was surprised at finding strong demonstrations from the direction of Wise's Forks, now partly in his own rear. This checked his progress and made him turn upon Carter. The advanced regiment retired as ordered, and when it was within the lines the enemy was saluted with such a fire of artillery and musketry as instantly checked him. Although he repeated his efforts to force the position at the Forks several times, they all were futile, and Carter had at no time the least difficulty in holding his main line firmly.

In Palmer's division, when Hill's advance across the creek drove back the pickets and threatened to pass the left flank of Boughton's brigade, this officer drew back his left to the British road and threw up a hasty barricade there. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 992.] Claassen's brigade was sent to prolong Boughton's line to the left, and Ruger's division having come up, the connection between Palmer and Carter was secured, the latter advancing his brigades so as to make a better continuous line. The attacks of Hoke and Hill extended across Ruger's front, but nothing heavier than brisk skirmishing occurred on Boughton's line. Claassen's brigade was sent forward toward Jackson's Mill, accompanied by my aide, Captain Tracy, in order to locate the left of the enemy's line, and determine the extent of his forces in front of our left and centre. No strong opposition was met till the Dover road came in sight, where the enemy were seen moving toward Hoke's position in front of Carter. Claassen was followed back in his orderly retirement to his position on Ruger's right, and was attacked there, but easily repulsed his assailants. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. pp. 982, 990.]

Palmer had reported sharp skirmishing across his front all the way to the Neuse road on his right, and had drawn his lines back a little, so as to keep them in front of the British road, contracting his right and extending his left, as the sound of the fighting showed that the heaviest attacks were falling upon Carter. By the middle of the afternoon a continuous line of breastworks had been made along the whole of Palmer's division in front of the British road. Ruger had extended it diagonally till it joined Carter's right, the latter continuing it across the Dover road in front of Wise's Forks to a difficult swamp on the extreme left. For our left, the lower Trent road served for our communication along the front, and for our right the British road was used in like manner.

Late in the day there were indications of an attempt to turn Palmer's right on the Neuse road, and this, which added to the complexity of the situation, seems to have grown out of an excentric movement of the Confederate left under Hill. In crossing Southwest Creek to make his attack, he tells us the plan had been that when Hoke should strike our flank on the Dover road, he should cut off any retreat on the British and Neuse roads. This would be best accomplished by pushing straight from his bridges for the British road. But having made a circuit about a swamp to the rear of Upham's right, he received a note from Bragg's headquarters saying that Hoke wished he would enter the British road from the Neuse road, which implied a long circuit to their left. As Hoke had himself made the bridge by which Hill had crossed, and knew the field better than the rest by his skirmishes of the previous day, it is evident that there was an error in interpreting his wish. But as Hill was on ground unknown to him, and Bragg's dispatch directed Hoke's suggestion to be carried out, Hill obeyed, and turned his troops down the right bank of Southwest Creek, feeling the way to the Neuse road through swamps and woods. Reaching the outlet of the British road at half-past four without seeing signs of our retreat that way, and the distant firing showing that Hoke was not advancing, Hill thought it too late to venture further, and marched back by the way he had come five miles to his bridge. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 1087.] His presence had been observed by our pickets and skirmishers, and was naturally interpreted by Palmer as the advance of a new column which had crossed the creek by the Neuse road. It, of course, gave an exaggerated impression of the enemy's strength, and as prisoners had been taken belonging to Lee's corps, who reported part of Hood's old army present with Bragg in command of the whole, we had to take into account the contingency of our having on our hands the formidable force thus indicated. Hill was met at his bridge by orders to cross to the left bank and join Hoke by recrossing at Jackson's Mills and following the Dover road. He effected the junction about midnight. [Footnote: Ibid.] Hoke had been keeping up a skirmishing fight in the latter part of the day, and at night intrenched himself across the Dover road just in front of the British road. Hill, after joining him, continued the line northward, parallel to ours, and therefore crossing the British road again, recurving toward the creek. Our breastworks were made stronger, and we kept our teams hard at work bringing up ammunition and supplies. General Schofield went back to New Berne to get into communication with the rest of his department, and try to hurry forward the two old divisions of the Twenty-third Corps, who were marching to join us. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 743-751.] My own orders were to remain on the watchful defensive whilst the construction of the railroad toward us went on energetically. On Thursday, the 9th, we husbanded our resources, for our ammunition was running short and the roads through the swamp were nearly impassable. We extended our works on Carter's left, recurving them so as to cross the lower Trent road, and, though we had no troops at the moment except one regiment of Ruger's to put into these intrenchments, they were ready for prompt occupation by any we might send there if another effort were made to turn that flank. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. pp. 978, 995.] With this in view, General Ruger was directed to put one of his brigades in reserve, extending the rest of his troops to fill the vacancy so made, and covering the front with abatis and slashed timber. Pickets were advanced and every effort made to obtain information and keep close watch of the enemy's movements. About ten o'clock General Palmer reported a force moving toward the Neuse road which, after demonstrating there for some time, marched back again. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 747, 749-750.] This seems to have been an effort to repeat the movement of Hill on the previous afternoon, but this time by Hoke's division. Finding Palmer's line in good earthworks, Hoke made no attack, and returned to his position, though Bragg's order declared that "success must be achieved." [Footnote:Id., p. 1359.] While this was going on, Hill advanced his line and drove in Carter's skirmishers; but these being reinforced, quickly retook their rifle-pits, and Hill retired to his own works. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 1087.] Bragg's delay in testing conclusions with us was due, in part no doubt, to the fact that Stewart's corps of the Army of Tennessee was en route to him, and the railway was being worked energetically to bring up these reinforcements. They arrived during the day, and the final attack upon us was arranged for Friday, the 10th. Stewart's men were under the command of General Walthall, the senior division commander present. [Footnote:Id., p. 1088.]

In the night of Thursday and the early morning of Friday, the active skirmishing of the enemy was so continuous as to remind us of the days in the Georgia campaign when the intrenched lines of the opposing armies faced each other in the narrow valley near New Hope Church. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. p. 769.] Bragg ordered Hoke's troops to be relieved by Walthall's, and to make a considerable circuit to their right, seeking to reach the lower Trent road in our rear, and, advancing upon it, attack Carter's division in reverse. The sharp skirmishing had covered these changes of position. Upon hearing the sounds of Hoke's attack, Walthall and Hill were to assist him by strong demonstrations, but, as the latter says, in deference to his report that the men were very unwilling to attack earthworks, "their experience in the late campaign [in the west] not being favorable to such an undertaking," no actual assault was ordered, but doubled skirmish lines were to advance as far as possible. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 1088.]

On our side we were watchful and expectant, my orders to the divisions being that whenever one part of the line should be engaged, the rest should push forward strong skirmish lines to test the extent of the enemy's deployment, and gain the information on which I could act in reinforcing either wing from the other. General Greene, who was on his way to rejoin Sherman, volunteered for duty as a staff officer, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 979.] as did General Stiles of my own division of the Twenty-third Corps, who was likewise returning to his proper command. [Footnote: General George S. Greene, division commander in the Twentieth Corps, had commanded a division in the Twelfth Corps, before its consolidation into the other. He was the same who was distinguished at Antietam (ante, vol. i. pp. 321-331). He graduated at West Point in 1823, and was a descendant of General Greene of the Revolutionary War, a military stock well continued in F. V. Greene of the Engineers, a general officer in the late Spanish War.] The absence of most of my own staff made their help most acceptable.

General Schofield was on his way up from New Berne, and horses were awaiting him at the end of the railway when, about half-past eleven, Hoke's attack came with much more energy and resolution than the Confederates had shown before. Ruger's reserve brigade (McQuiston's) was ordered over to the left at once, a brigade he had loaned to Palmer (Thomas's) was ordered back, and Palmer was ordered to send another brigade if the enemy was quiet in his front. Hoke's attack lapped so far over the lower Trent road as to threaten the Dover road also, and lest General Schofield should be in danger of capture, I directed Palmer to signal down the railroad track for him to await further news from us before leaving the train. [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 772.]

The artillery of both Carter's and Ruger's divisions were concentrated upon Hoke, who was surprised to find our line so well prepared to meet him. For nearly an hour, however, the fighting was fierce; but it then began to flag a little, and I at once ordered McQuiston's brigade to charge, throwing the left forward upon Hoke's flank. This was decisive, and the enemy broke and fled. Walthall and Hill were now advancing against Carter's right and against Ruger, and as the line of the latter was very thin, I had to recall McQuiston in the full tide of pursuit and send him back to the centre double quick. He brought in nearly 300 prisoners, and our left was relieved of all danger. For a while my headquarters group was in a hot place. General Greene had his horse shot under him, one orderly had an arm taken off by a shell, two others were wounded, and several had horses killed.

The men of Stewart's and Lee's corps were to have co-operated with Hoke, but the difficulty of movement over such blind and wooded country caused delay which gave time for me to reinforce the centre. The artillery was hurried to the same position, and the Confederates were defeated easily, their unwillingness to assault breastworks being increased by the sight of Hoke's men in disordered flight. At half-past twelve I was able to send word to General Schofield that the road was no longer threatened by the enemy, and he joined us before the fighting at the centre was over. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 978; pt. ii. p. 772.] Bragg withdrew to the intrenchments he had occupied on the 9th. The certainty that two corps of the Army of Tennessee were represented in the attack besides the troops of Bragg's own department, added to the lack of supplies and munitions, made us quite willing to remain on the defensive and await the arrival of Couch, who was within a day's march of us with the two veteran divisions of the Twenty-third Corps. The construction of the railroad and the hurrying forward of ammunition were ordered with strenuous urgency, and messages to Couch made him force the marching to join us. [Footnote: The officer who was sent by Schofield to hasten Couch's march found my old division at the head of the column slowly filing over a rickety foot-bridge in the darkness, grumbling at the continued plodding in the mud. He shouted to them the news of our fighting and my possible need of help. The cry went up from the men, "If General Cox wants us, he can have us," and they dashed into the stream in solid column, forcing the pace till they reached the field.] Bragg retreated in the night of the 10th and was speeding back to Goldsborough by rail, for Johnston was now hastening to join Hardee, who was retreating before Sherman out of South Carolina.

The numbers which Hill and Walthall brought to Bragg were smaller than we inferred from our knowledge of the organizations present. We took prisoners belonging to four divisions of Hood's old army. Hoke's division and the brigades of Whitford, Hagood, and Baker had all been stronger in numbers than similar organizations of our own. We were necessarily wholly ignorant of the causes which had reduced the divisions coming from the West, and indeed learned of their presence in North Carolina only through the prisoners we took in the engagement and the deserters who came into our lines. As we have seen, [Footnote: Ante, p. 424.] the number of Hood's men in the State at the beginning of the month was over 9000, with other detachments on the way. Bragg's other forces were an equal number. After all the casualties of the campaign, the Army of Tennessee reported 11,442 present on April 7th, of which 8953 were "effectives." When they were paroled at Greenesborough on April 26th, 17,934 appeared and signed the papers. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. pp. 1059, 1066. In the table of the paroled, Cheatham's two divisions (his own and Brown's) are listed in Hardee's corps, and with those of Stewart's and Lee's corps, less Anderson's (late Talliaferro's) division, make the total given.] It is impossible to tell exactly what part of these were at Kinston. Hill's claim that he had but little over 1300 effectives in five brigades of Lee's corps is not credible. [Footnote: Id., p. 1088. For my criticism of his amusingly erroneous statements in regard to Antietam, see "The Nation," No. 1538, p. 462, and No. 1543, p. 71.] It is certain that Bragg knew I had three divisions and that he believed his force was the stronger. Our losses had been 1337, of which 900 were the "missing" in Upton's brigade and the cavalry. Bragg made no formal report of the campaign or of his losses in this part of it.



CHAPTER XLVIII

JUNCTION WITH SHERMAN AT GOLDSBOROUGH--THE MARCH ON RALEIGH--CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES

Occupation of Kinston--Opening of Neuse River--Rebel ram destroyed--Listening to the distant battle at Bentonville--Entering Goldsborough--Meeting Sherman--Grant's congratulations--His own plans--Sketch of Sherman's march--Lee and Johnston's correspondence--Their gloomy outlook--Am made commandant of Twenty-third Corps--Terry assigned to Tenth--Schofield promoted in the Regular Army--Stanton's proviso--Ill effects of living on the country--Stopping it in North Carolina--Camp jubilee over the fall of Richmond--Changes in Sherman's plans--Our march on Smithfield--House-burning--News of Lee's surrender--Overtures from Governor Vance--Entering Raleigh--A mocking-bird's greeting--Further negotiations as to North Carolina--Johnston proposes an armistice--Broader scope of negotiations--The Southern people desire peace--Terrors of non-combatants assuaged--News of Lincoln's assassination--Precautions to preserve order--The dawn of peace.

Reconnoitring parties sent toward Kinston on the 11th showed that only a rear-guard occupied that town and that we could occupy it when we pleased. General Couch joined us on the 12th, and Hoke having sent in a flag of truce offering to exchange prisoners, of whom we had nearly 400, I sent Major Dow of my staff with General Schofield's answer declining to do so. The major found no enemy on our side of the Neuse. The railroad bridge was burned and the middle part of the wagon bridge destroyed. The roads were so nearly impassable that we could hardly feed the troops where we were, and whilst the railroad building went on, we hastened also the opening of a supply line by water. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. pp. 933, 934; pt. ii. pp. 801, 802, 814.] Commander Rhind of the navy efficiently co-operated in this, and we marched to Kinston bridge on the 14th, laid pontoon bridges on the next day, and occupied the town. The Confederate ram had been burnt and her wreck lay a little below the bridge. The transports and their convoying war vessel did not get up till the 18th, but as they then brought a hundred thousand rations, we were able to begin accumulating stores at Kinston as an advanced depot. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 836-839, 880, 883.] Small additions to our wagon-trains also arrived, and orders were issued to march toward Goldsborough on the 20th. Meanwhile 2000 men had been set at work getting out railroad ties and timber for bridges. [Footnote: Id., pp. 836, 851.]

During the halt at Kinston we partly reorganized the troops in view of the approaching union with Sherman. The officers and men who belonged to the divisions in Sherman's army were separately organized into a division under General Greene, so that they could easily be transferred to their proper commands. The rest of Palmer's and Carter's divisions were united in one under Carter, and Palmer was assigned to the District of Beaufort, from which I was relieved. Ruger's division remained in my provisional corps with the other two. General Stiles was assigned to a brigade in Ruger's division. [Footnote:Id., pp. 839, 895.]

On Monday, the 20th, we were in march for Goldsborough, leaving a brigade to garrison the post at Kinston and protect the growing depot there. On Sunday we had heard all day the very distant artillery firing, which we knew indicated a battle between Sherman and Johnston. It was a scarcely distinguishable sound, like a dull thumping, becoming somewhat more distinct when one applied his ear to the ground. We judged that this final battle in the Carolinas was near Smithfield, and we were not far out of the way, for Bentonville was only a little south, and either place about fifty miles from us. Two days' march took us into Goldsborough with no opposition but skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry. We found the railroad uninjured, except that the bridges were burned; but they were small and would not delay Colonel Wright long when the large one at Kinston should be completed. Captain Twining, General Schofield's engineer and aide, had carried dispatches to Sherman on the 20th, and the latter was now in full possession of the story of our movements since the fall of Fort Fisher. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 942.] On the 22d Sherman was able to announce in field orders the retreat of Johnston toward Raleigh and our occupation of Goldsborough, whilst Terry had laid his pontoons across the Neuse completing the connection with Wilmington also. His declaration for the whole army that the "campaign has resulted in a glorious success" was more than justified. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 44.]

On Thursday, the 23d, Sherman joined us in person, and we paraded the Twenty-third Corps to honor the march-past of Slocum's Army of Georgia, the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, as they came in from Bentonville. Sherman took his place with us by the roadside, and the formal reunion with the comrades who had fought with us in the Atlanta campaign was an event to stir deep emotions in our hearts. The general did not hesitate to speak out his readiness, now that his army was reunited, to meet the forces of Lee and Johnston combined, if they also should effect a junction and try to open a way southward. The men who had traversed the Carolinas were ragged and dirty, their faces were begrimed by the soot of their camp-fires of pine-knots in the forests, but their arms were in order, and they stepped out with the sturdy swing that marked all our Western troops. Our men were in new uniforms we had lately drawn from the quartermaster, and the tatterdemalions who had made the march to the sea were disposed to chaff us as if we were new recruits or pampered garrison troops. "Well, sonnies!" a regimental wag cried out, "do they issue butter to you regularly now?" "Oh, yes! to be sure!" was the instant retort; "but we trade it off for soap!" The ironical emphasis on the "we" was well understood and greeted with roars of laughter, and learning that our men were really those who had been with them in Georgia and had fought at Franklin and Nashville before making the tour of the North to come by sea and rejoin them in North Carolina, they made the welkin ring again with their greeting cheers.

Keeping close watch of Sherman's movements, as hinted at in the Southern newspapers, [Footnote: Till the capture of Columbia, the Southern newspapers gave Sherman's movements with satisfactory accuracy, and Grant's information on the subject was chiefly drawn from them. Afterward a more rigid censorship was enforced. Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 385, 405, 428, 441, 455, 472, 499, etc.] Grant concluded on the 22d that he must have reached Goldsborough, and wrote him congratulations on the same day that Sherman announced to his army the good result. "I congratulate you and the army," said Grant, "in what may be regarded as the successful termination of the third campaign since leaving the Tennessee River less than one year ago." [Footnote:Id., p. 948.] He briefly but clearly outlined his own plans. Sheridan was to start with his cavalry on the 25th, and, passing beyond the left of the lines before Petersburg, to strike the Southside railroad as near the town as might be, and destroy enough of it to interrupt its use by the enemy for three or four days. This done, he was to push for the Danville Railroad, do the like, and again cut the Southside road near Burkesville. After that Grant would leave Sheridan at liberty to join Sherman or to return to his own army. At the same time he would himself diminish the forces in his investing lines to the smallest that could hold them, and with all the rest crowd to the westward to prevent Lee from following Sheridan. He would attack if Lee should detach part of his army to follow Sheridan or to join Johnston, or would fight a decisive battle if the Confederates came out in force. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 948. See also p. 859.] The general principles which resulted in Five Forks and the abandonment of Richmond are here clearly evident, and Sherman could plan his own work accordingly.

The latter was also writing on that day to the Lieutenant-General, taking up the thread of his own story from the time he reached Fayetteville and learned that Johnston had been put in command of all the forces opposing him. He sketched the sharp combat between Slocum and Hardee at Averasborough on March 16th, where the latter had taken a strong position across the narrow swampy neck between Cape Fear River and North River at the forks of the Raleigh and Goldsborough roads. Hardee was working for time, as Johnston was collecting his forces at Smithfield after Bragg's unsuccessful blow at us near Kinston. A day's delay was gained at heavy cost for the Confederates. At Bentonville, on the 19th, Johnston had concentrated his army and struck fiercely at Slocum again, for the almost impassable mud had made it necessary for Howard's wing to seek roads some miles to the right. Slocum had to give some ground and draw back his advanced division to a better position, on which he formed the rest of his troops, Kilpatrick's cavalry covering his left. Here he repulsed all further efforts of Johnston and held his ground till Sherman could bring forward the right wing, when the enemy was forced to intrench and was put on the defensive. On the 21st Howard's extreme right broke through or turned the line, and nearly reached Johnston's headquarters. The blindly tangled swampy ground prevented full advantage being reaped from this success, and Johnston managed to hold on till night, when he abandoned his lines and retreated on Raleigh. Sherman's casualties of all sorts in the two engagements of Averasborough and Bentonville were 2209. He had buried on the abandoned fields 375 of the Confederate dead, and held 2000 prisoners. Johnston's wounded were 1694 at Bentonville, besides several hundred at Averasborough. [Footnote: Sherman to Grant, Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 949; his report, Id., pt. i. pp. 27, 66, 76; Johnston's do., Id., pp. 1057, 1060.] The last battle in the Carolinas had been fought, Johnston had added to his reputation as a soldier by quick and strong blows skilfully delivered, first at Schofield, then at Sherman; but his numbers were not enough to make either blow successful, and the junction of our armies at Goldsborough made further fighting a mere waste of life, unless he and Lee could unite for a final effort. This Grant would not permit, and Johnston's message to Lee on the 23d was in substance the old one from Pavia, "All is lost but honor." "Sherman's course cannot be hindered by the small force I have. I can do no more than annoy him. I respectfully suggest that it is no longer a question whether you leave your present position; you have only to decide where to meet Sherman. I will be near him." [Footnote:Id., p. 1055.]

General Lee, from his own point of view, saw with equal clearness the net that was closing round him. He had telegraphed to Johnston on the 11th, "I fear I cannot hold my position if road to Raleigh is interrupted. Should you be forced back in this direction both armies would certainly starve." [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 1372.] On the 15th he repeated, "If you are forced back from Raleigh and we deprived of the supplies from east North Carolina, I do not know how this army can be supported." [Footnote: Id., p. 1395.] But while he pointed out the vital importance of repulsing Sherman, he did not urge rashness in giving battle without prospect of success. Supplies in Virginia, he said, were exhausted. The western communication by Danville was now his only reliance. Since sending Hoke, Conner, and Hampton south, his forces were too weak to extend his lines, and he apprehended the very break in the Danville road which Grant was planning to make by Sheridan. "You will therefore perceive," he added, "that if I contract my lines as you propose, with the view of holding Richmond, our only resource for obtaining subsistence will be cut off and the city must be abandoned; whereas, if I take a position to maintain the road, Richmond will be lost." If Sherman could not be checked, "I cannot remain here, but must start out and seek a favorable opportunity for battle. I shall maintain my position as long as it appears advisable, both from the moral and material advantages of holding Richmond and Virginia." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 1395.] Danville, he saw, was his necessary aim if he broke away, and he pointed out the advantages they would have for manoeuvre if Sherman could be kept well to the east, giving them more room and a wider region to live upon after uniting. But Grant saw all this too, and the inexorable tenacity and vigor with which, a few days later, he pushed Lee north of the Danville line and cornered him at Appomattox, showed that his measure of the situation was as accurate as Lee's, and that he knew the quick ending of the war depended on his preventing at all hazards the junction of the Confederate armies. Nothing in military history is more interesting than the comparison of the letters and dispatches of the leaders on both sides in this crisis. Grant was not content with being upon Lee's heels when he abandoned Richmond, as he had promised Sherman he would be. He would do better. Well served by Sheridan's fiery energy, he would out-foot his adversary in the race for Danville, and even block his path on the road to Lynchburg when the junction with Johnston had to be given up.

For us at Goldsborough a day or two was delightfully spent in free conferences with Sherman and in getting from his own lips the story of his wonderful campaigns since we parted from him in Georgia. All the empty wagons of his enormous trains were now sent back to Kinston under escort to bring up clothing and supplies, and he thought a delay of a fortnight might be necessary to get ready for further active movements. He fixed April both as the date for opening a new campaign, and suggested to General Grant that when he had his troops properly placed and the supplies working well, he might "run up and see you for a day or two before diving again into the bowels of the country." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 969.] On the 25th the railroad was running to Goldsborough, and Colonel Wright was anxious to have the general go over the road with him and see for himself its condition and what had been acomplished as well as what was still needed to make its equipment ready for the heavy work of another campaign. Accordingly Sherman put Schofield temporarily in chief command, and after an inspection trip on a locomotive with Colonel Wright, he continued his journey to City Point in a steamer belonging to the quartermaster's department. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. pp. 19, 20.] His memorable visit to Grant and Lincoln, there, will be considered in connection with the negotiations with Johnston a little later. Having spent the 27th and 28th of March there, he was sent back by Admiral Porter in a fast vessel of the navy, reached New Berne on the 30th, and rejoined us at Goldsborough the same evening.

His return was a matter of some personal interest to me, for it brought my permanent assignment to the command of the Twenty-third Corps by Presidential order. The other troops under Schofield were organized into a new corps with Terry for commandant, and as changes had vacated the original Tenth Corps organization, that number was given to Terry's. Schofield had asked for these appointments immediately after our occupation of Wilmington, but the letters had not reached General Grant, and action had not been taken. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 559.] At Goldsborough he had renewed the request which Sherman cordially indorsed, and the latter carried the papers with him to City Point, where the matter was acted upon at once by the President and General Grant. [Footnote: Id., pp. 960, 961; pt. iii. pp. 18, 34. See also Appendix C.]

Schofield's promotion to the rank of brigadier-general in the regular army had been recommended by Grant as a reward for the capture of Wilmington, with the remark that he ought to have had it from the battle of Franklin. [Footnote: Id., pt. ii. pp. 545, 558.] Mr. Stanton replied that the nomination would be made as requested, "subject, however, to his obedience to orders. I am not satisfied with his conduct in seizing the hospital boat 'Spaulding' to make it his own quarters," he said; adding, "I have directed him to give it up. If he obeys the order promptly, I will send in his nomination; otherwise I will not." [Footnote: Id., p. 562.] By an odd coincidence, the order to Schofield with the Secretary's reprimand was written on the same day Grant was making his recommendation for promotion, [Footnote:Id., p. 545.] and it well illustrates Stanton's characteristic impulsiveness and hasty temper which made him act on first reports, when a quiet investigation of facts would have changed his view and saved the feelings of his subordinates. An order forbidding the use of hospital boats for other military purposes, diverting them from hospital use, had been issued on February 8th, the day we reached Cape Fear Inlet after our sea voyage, [Footnote:Id., p. 342.] and by another coincidence Schofield had made the "Spaulding" his temporary headquarters on the same day. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 927.] Not being a clairvoyant, Schofield knew nothing of the order which was then being written in the adjutant-general's office at Washington, and which did not reach him till his temporary use of the vessel had ended. Moreover, as he was as yet without his tents or horses, and as he intended his troops to operate on both sides of Cape Fear River, his prompt progress with the campaign depended on his ready communication with both banks, [Footnote: Ante, p. 405.] and the boat had been named as available for the purpose by the quartermaster responsible for the army transports and vessels. As it was a question of successful handling of his forces, the discretion would have belonged to the general commanding the department to make an exception to a rule, if the order had been in his hands instead of being wholly unknown to him. Still again, the use he made of the boat helped instead of hindering its availability as a hospital, for he kept it close to the advancing lines on the river banks so that the wounded were brought to it with greatest ease, and it had in fact no sick or disabled men on board till they were brought there under these circumstances. Lastly, the superior medical officer of the department was a member of Schofield's staff, wholly in accord with his views, and the complaint had been sent by the subordinate surgeon on the boat directly to the surgeon-general at Washington without the knowledge of the department medical director. To have referred it back to the general for his comments, calling his attention to the order, would have been regular and would have resulted in commendation of his action instead of disapproval. When Grant received the Secretary's dispatch, Colonel Comstock had returned from Wilmington, and from him the general got the information which enabled him to remove Stanton's misapprehension, so that the appointment was made before Schofield knew of the complaint. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 562, 582.] Nearly a month later he made a full statement of the circumstances to put himself personally right with the Secretary. [Footnote: Id., p. 832.] The latter had borne no ill-will to Schofield, but even at the closing period of the war had not learned to temper his zeal with considerate patience.

The work which occupied us the ten days of April which we spent at Goldsborough was chiefly that of organizing our trains and collecting supplies in our depots, so that the foraging on the country which had been necessary in Georgia and South Carolina might cease, now that we had railway communication with a safe base on the Atlantic. Sherman had informed his principal subordinates that when he reached North Carolina he would resume the regular issue of supplies as far as possible, and put an end to the indiscriminate seizing of whatever the army needed. It had answered its purpose in the long marches from Atlanta to Savannah and from Savannah to Goldsborough, where the condition of success was cutting loose from the base; but the tendency to demoralization and loss of discipline in troops which practise it too long, made a return to regular methods very desirable.

As the army had approached the North Carolina line, General Blair, commanding the Seventeenth Corps, had written to Howard, his immediate superior: "Every house that we pass is pillaged, and as we are about to enter the State of North Carolina, I think the people should be treated more considerately. The only way to prevent this state of affairs is to put a stop to foraging. I have enough in my wagons to last to Goldsborough, and I suppose that the rest of the army has also. . . . The system is vicious and its results utterly deplorable. As there is no longer a necessity for it, I beg that an order may be issued to prohibit it. General Sherman said that when we reached North Carolina he would pay for everything brought to us and forbid foraging. I believe it would have an excellent effect upon the country to change our policy in this respect." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 717; pt. iii. pp. 46, 47.] Stringent orders were at once issued to modify the system and prevent the abuses of it, but it was not practicable to stop foraging entirely till the junction of the forces was made at Goldsborough. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. pp. 718, 728, 760, 783.] The regular issue of rations furnished by the government was then resumed, except that long forage for horses and mules could not be obtained in this way and was collected from the country;[Footnote:Id., pt. iii. pp. 7-9.] but even then the correction of bad habits in the soldiery was only gradually accomplished.

The evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg on the morning of the 3d of April was not known to Sherman till the 6th, when Grant's letter reached him containing the joyful news. On Saturday, the 8th, it was confirmed, with particulars of Lee's disastrous retreat. [Footnote: Id., pp. 89, 99, 100, 109.] That night there was a noisy jubilee in our camps. Regular artillery salutes were fired, but the soldiers also extemporized all sorts of demonstrations of their joyfulness. The air resounded with cheers, with patriotic songs, with the beating of drums, with the music of the brass bands, with musket firing; whilst beautiful signal rockets rushed high into the air, dropping their brilliant stars of red, white, and blue from the very clouds. [Footnote:Id., pt. i. p. 936.]

So long as Lee held fast at Petersburg, Sherman's plan had been to feint on Raleigh, but make his real movement northward, crossing the Roanoke above Gaston and marching between Johnston and Lee. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 102.] Now, however, as he wrote Halleck, he would move in force upon Raleigh, repairing the railroad behind him and following the Confederate army close in whatever direction it should move. [Footnote: Id., p. 118.] Grant's letter of the 5th, giving his opinion that Lee was making for Danville with an army reduced to about 20,000 men, [Footnote: Id., P. 99.] reached Sherman on the 8th, and he immediately answered it, saying: "On Monday [10th] all my army will move straight on Joe Johnston, supposed to be between me and Raleigh, and I will follow him wherever he may go. If he retreats on Danville to make junction with Lee, I will do the same, though I may take a course round him, bending toward Greensborough for the purpose of turning him north.... I wish you could have waited a few days or that I could have been here a week sooner; but it is not too late yet, and you may rely with absolute certainty that I will be after Johnston with about 80,000 men, provided for twenty full days which will last me forty. I will have a small force here at Goldsborough and will repair the road to Raleigh." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 129.]

On Monday we marched,--Slocum with the Army of Georgia straight for Smithfield, Howard with the Army of the Tennessee going north to Pikeville and then turning toward Raleigh, keeping to the right of Slocum and abreast of him on parallel roads. Schofield with our Army of the Ohio moved a little to the left of Slocum in echelon, my corps taking the river road on the left (north) bank of the Neuse to Turner's Bridge, a little below Smithfield, and Terry's going through Bentonville somewhat further to left and rear. Kilpatrick with the cavalry covered the march of this flank. [Footnote:Id., p. 123.] It will be seen that this order of movement assumed that Johnston was at or near Smithfield, where our latest information put him. My corps had been somewhat scattered to cover our communications with Kinston and Newberne, and I was ordered to concentrate at Goldsborough on the 10th, advancing-from there on the 11th. [Footnote: Id., p. 134.] My old division, which had been commanded by General Reilly since he joined us at Wilmington, was for the rest of the campaign led by General Carter, Reilly's uncertain health making him anticipate the quickly approaching end of the war by resigning. Ruger and Couch continued in command of the first and second divisions respectively. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 936.]

My own march was impeded by the slow progress of the pontoon-train which had been sent ahead of my column, where a part of Slocum's supply-train also moved. For this reason we found numbers of stragglers on our way and evidences of pillaging by which I was exasperated. We halted at noon of the 11th near a large house belonging to a Mr. Atkinson, a man of prominence in the region. The mansion had a Grecian portico with large columns the whole height of the building. Part of the furniture and the carpets had been removed, but evidences of refinement and intelligence were seen in the piano and the library with its books. With my staff I rested and ate my lunch in the spacious portico, and moving on when the halt was over, I had hardly ridden half a mile when a pillar of white smoke showed that the house was on fire. I sent back a staff officer in haste to order an instant investigation and the arrest of any authors of this vandalism. The most that could be learned was that some stragglers of another corps had been seen lurking in the house when we moved on, and soon after fire broke out in the second story, having been set, apparently, in a closet connected with one of the chambers. Efforts were made to extinguish it, but it had found its way into the garret and had such headway that the house was doomed. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 936.] This was the first instance in my experience where a dwelling had been burned when my troops were passing, and I was greatly disturbed by their apparent responsibility for it. My anger was increased by repetitions of similar outrages during the afternoon. From our camp at Turner's Bridge I issued an order directing summary trial by drum-head court-martial and execution of marauders guilty of such outrages, whether belonging to my own corps or stragglers hanging on at its skirts. [Footnote: Id., pt. iii. p. 189.] The evidence seemed conclusive that the crimes were committed by "bummers" who had separated themselves from the army when marching up from Savannah, and were following it for purposes of pillage. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 281.] It was reported that Atkinson was a "conscription agent" of the Confederate government, and this perhaps was the incentive in his case for the outrage. As a precaution, I ordered sentinels to be left at dwellings on our march, to be relieved from the divisions in succession, the last to remain till our trains had passed and then join the rear-guard. [Footnote: Id., p. 189.]

In the march of the 12th Howard remained on the east side of the Neuse with a pretty widely extended front, aiming for the crossing of the river due east of Raleigh, at the Neuse Mills and Hinton's Bridge. Slocum crossed at Smithfield and took the roads up the right bank of the Neuse. Schofield crossed at Turner's Bridge, and sought roads further west, intending to reach the main road leading from Elevation to Raleigh. [Footnote: Id., pp. 163, 164, 187-189.] At Smithfield we learned that Johnston was at Raleigh, but we did not know that he had heard of Lee's surrender and had no longer a motive to hold tenaciously to the central part of the State. [Footnote: Id., p. 777.] It was on our march of Tuesday, the 12th, that the news of the surrender reached us, and was greeted with extravagant demonstrations of joy by both officers and men. [Footnote: For a vivid description of the scene, see "Ohio Loyal Legion Papers," vol. ii. p. 234, by A. J. Ricks, then a lieutenant on my staff, since Judge of U. S. District Court, N. Ohio.] Sherman had got the news in a dispatch sent by Grant on the 9th, as soon as the capitulation was complete, and which contained the terms he had offered Lee, with their acceptance. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 140.] Replying at once, Sherman said, "I hardly know how to express my feelings, but you can imagine them. The terms you have given Lee are magnanimous and liberal. Should Johnston follow Lee's example, I shall of course grant the same. He is retreating before me on Raleigh, but I shall be there to-morrow." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 177.] He indicated his hope that Johnston would surrender at Raleigh, but should he not do so, his own plan would be to push to the south and west to prevent the enemy's retreat into the Gulf States. "With a little more cavalry," he said, "I would be sure to capture the whole army." He issued also a Special Field Order, announcing to the army the momentous news. "Glory to God and to our country, and all honor to our comrades in arms toward whom we are marching. A little more labor, a little more toil on our part, the great race is won, and our government stands regenerated after four years of bloody war." [Footnote: Id., p. 180.] Such were the words which created a tumult of emotion in the heart of every soldier, when they were read that day, a beautiful spring day, at the head of each command. The order reached me near mid-day at a resting halt of the corps, and with bared heads my staff listened to the reading. We then greeted it with three cheers, I myself acting as fugleman, and the tidings sped down the column on the wings of the wind.

Late in the same day a delegation met Slocum's advance-guard coming from Raleigh in a car upon the railroad with a letter from Governor Vance making overtures to end the war, so far as North Carolina was concerned. The little party was headed by ex-Governor Graham and Mr. Swain, men who had led the opposition to secession till swept away by the popular whirlwind of war feeling, and who now came to acknowledge the victory of the National Government. Mr. Graham had been the candidate for Vice-President in 1852, nominated by the Whig party on the ticket with General Scott. Sherman received them kindly, and gave a safeguard for Governor Vance and any members of the State government who might await him in Raleigh, though, after a conference with Graham and his party in regard to their present relations to the Confederate government, he wrote to Vance, "I doubt if hostilities can be suspended as between the Army of the Confederate Government and the one I command, but I will aid you all in my power to contribute to the end you aim to reach, the termination of the existing war." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 178.]

The Twenty-third Corps marched eighteen miles on the 12th, and, as General Schofield reported, found that "Slocum's bummers had been all over the country," foraging it bare. [Footnote: Id., p. 187.] On the 13th we marched within two miles of Raleigh, making nineteen miles, the Army of Georgia entering the city just ahead of us. Sherman was with the head of Slocum's column, expecting to meet Governor Vance, but such delays had occurred to the train taking his messengers that Vance lost confidence, and had left the city ahead of Hampton's cavalry, the rear-guard of Johnston's army. Hampton was bitterly opposed to all negotiation by Vance, holding it to be treasonable, and had put such obstacles in the way of Graham's party as to make Vance think that they had been arrested and that the mission had failed. [Footnote: Id., pp. 178, 196.] Graham and Swain, however, were still there, and at once waited upon Sherman, who established his headquarters in the governor's mansion. The news, as it came to us in the marching column, was that Vance had met Sherman in person and surrendered the capital of the State; but the facts turned out to be as I have stated them. [Footnote: Id., pt. i. p. 937.]

A trifling incident gave us pleasure as we were approaching our camp near Raleigh, and, with the soldiers' disposition to interpret fortuitous things in earth and air, was greeted as a good omen. A great tree stood at the roadside, and, perched upon a dead limb high above the foliage and overhanging the way, a mocking-bird poured forth the most wonderful melodies ever heard even from that prince of songsters. Excited but not frightened away by the moving host beneath, the bird outdid its kind in its imitations of other birds, and in its calls and notes of endless variety, whistling and singing with a full resonant power that rose above all other sounds. The marching soldiers ceased their talk, listening intently and craning their necks to get a sight of the peerless musician. It was a celebration of the coming peace, unique in beauty and full of sweet suggestions.

On the 14th the greater part of the army moved westward a few miles in front of Raleigh, the Twenty-third Corps closing up to the eastern suburbs of the town. Sherman issued his marching orders for the 15th, beginning, "The next movement will be on Ashborough, to turn the position of the enemy at Company's shops in rear of Haw River Bridge and at Greensborough, and to cut off his only available line of retreat by Salisbury and Charlotte." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 208, 217.] This march had hardly begun, however, when it was temporarily suspended and was never resumed. Our last hostile march against the Confederate armies had been made. Mr. Badger, the last senator from the State in the National Congress, and other leading men, including Mr. Holden, the leader of the Union element in the State, had joined Mr. Graham's party, and Sherman had been busy with them, negotiating informally to obtain the withdrawal of North Carolina from the Confederacy. The general was willing that the executive and legislature of the State should come to Raleigh for this purpose, but refused to suspend hostilities against Johnston's army except upon direct overtures for surrender on the part of the latter. [Footnote: Id., p. 221.] Whilst these conferences were in progress, others had been going on at Greensborough, and as a result General Johnston had sent a letter requesting an armistice. [Footnote:Id., p. 206.] Sherman immediately replied in terms which brought about the halt and temporary truce between the two armies and a personal conference three days later. Thus opened the famous negotiations, the story of which will be told in the next chapter.

Whilst the Southern people had shown wonderful fortitude and patience as long as a hope of success remained, they were most anxious to be spared the horrors of war when there was no compensating advantage to be looked for. The dread of our armies had been increased by the exaggerations which the Confederate authorities had used to excite the people to desperate resistance, and the terror now reacted in a general popular demand for surrender. The story of the burning of Columbia had been given to them as a wanton and deliberate barbarity on Sherman's part, and the delegation which met him could hardly believe their own senses when they heard his earnest expressions of desire to end the war at once and save the people from suffering and the country from devastation.

An experience of my own as we entered Raleigh gave me a startling view of the abject terror which had seized upon helpless families when they found themselves defenceless in our hands. In the night of Wednesday, the 12th, Hampton had made it known that the rear-guard which he commanded must retire before daylight, and the frightened people had at once begun to close their windows and sit in gloomy expectation of what the morning would bring. Early on Thursday Kilpatrick's cavalry clattered through the town, and on the further side some skirmishing occurred and an occasional cannon shot was thought to be the opening of battle. Slocum's infantry marched through after the cavalry advance-guard, and the heavy rattling of cannon and caissons with the shouting of the drivers of the trains seemed a pandemonium to unaccustomed ears. Sherman had issued stringent orders that no mischief should be done and no looting permitted in the city, and all the superior officers were earnest in enforcing the orders, so that I believe no town was ever more quietly occupied by an army in actual war. On Friday morning I was placing my own troops in the suburb and arranging to assume the guard of the city, left to us by the camping of the main body of the army beyond its western limits. An officer of the general staff came to me, saying he had been appealed to in a most piteous way for protection by a lady who with her household of women and children could endure the terror and suspense no longer. Knowing that I was to be in immediate charge of the place, he had given assurances that I would remove all cause for fear, but had still been begged to ask me to come in person and relieve their great distress. I went with him to one of the most comfortable homes of the town. The family had been collected in the parlors since midnight of Wednesday. They had not dared to retire to sleep, but clung about the mother and mistress. The windows were close shut, the rooms lit by candles, and pale, jaded with the long nervous strain, momentarily fearing the breaking in of those they had been taught to look upon as little better than fiends, their hollow eyes showed they were perilously near the limit of human endurance. I earnestly vouched for the good intentions of our generals, and promised the most ample protection. I assured them of sympathy and a purpose to give them the same safety as I should wish for my own wife and children if they were in a like situation. A guard was ordered for the house and the neighborhood. They were urged to open the windows to the cheerful light and to resume their ordinary way of life. The passing of the panic and the revival of confidence was a sort of return from the shadow of death and was most touching to behold. It added a new element of thankfulness that such terrors for the helpless were not to be renewed, since peace was really coming to heal the terrible wounds of war.

There was a moment when we once more feared we might not be able to save the city from vengeance. It was when, on the 17th of April, the news of Lincoln's assassination reached us. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 221.] Sherman had received the dispatch in cipher just as he was starting for his conference with Johnston at Durham Station, and had enjoined absolute secrecy upon the telegraph operator till his return in the evening. General Stiles, one of my most trusted subordinates, had been made commandant of the post of Raleigh with a garrison of three battalions of infantry, a brigade of reserve artillery, and the convalescents of the Army of the Ohio. [Footnote: Id., p. 217.] As soon as Sherman returned from his visit to Johnston, he sent for me and told me the terrible news of Lincoln's murder. He expressed the great fear he had lest, on its becoming known, it should be the occasion of outbreaks among the soldiers. He charged me to strengthen Stiles's garrison to any extent I might think necessary, to put strong guards at the edge of the city on the roads leading to the several camps, to send all soldiers off duty to their proper commands, and in short, till the first excitement should be over, to allow no one to visit the city or wander about it, and to keep all under strict military surveillance. Schofield and the other army commanders were with him, and all were seriously impressed with the danger of mischief resulting and with the need of thorough precautions. Sherman's general order announcing the assassination was then read, but its distribution and publication to the army was delayed till I should have time to prepare for safeguarding the city. [Footnote:Id., p. 238.] Fortunately the announcement of the first convention for the disbanding of all the remaining armies of the Confederacy accompanied the exciting news, and as it was regarded as the return of general peace, the effect on our army was that of deep mourning for the loss of a great leader in the hour of victory rather than an excitement to vengeance in a continuing strife. There was no noteworthy difficulty in preserving order, and, though the inhabitants of Raleigh had a day or two of great uneasiness, the beautiful town did not suffer in the least. Its broad streets, lined with forest trees, and the ample dooryards in the lush beauty of lawns and flowers were no more trespassed upon than the avenues and gardens of Washington, and nobody suffered from violence.



CHAPTER XLIX

THE SHERMAN-JOHNSTON CONVENTION

Sherman's earlier views of the slavery question--Opinions in 1864--War rights vs. statesmanship--Correspondence with Halleck--Conference with Stanton at Savannah--Letter to General Robert Anderson--Conference with Lincoln at City Point--First effect of the assassination of the President--Situation on the Confederate side--Davis at Danville--Cut off from Lee--Goes to Greensborough--Calls Johnston to conference--Lee's surrender--The Greensborough meeting--Approach of Stoneman's cavalry raid--Vance's deputation to Sherman--Davis orders their arrest--Vance asserts his loyalty--Attempts to concentrate Confederate forces on the Greensborough-Charlotte line--Cabinet meeting--Overthrow of the Confederacy acknowledged--Davis still hopeful--Yields to the cabinet--Dictates Johnston's letter to Sherman--Sherman's reply--Meeting arranged--Sherman sends preliminary correspondence to Washington--The Durham meeting--The negotiations--Two points of difficulty--Second day's session--Johnston's power to promise the disbanding of the civil government--The terms agreed upon--Transmittal letters--Assembling the Virginia legislature--Sherman's wish to make explicit declaration of the end of slavery--The assassination affecting public sentiment--Sherman's personal faith in Johnston--He sees the need of modifying the terms--Grant's arrival.

To understand Sherman's negotiations with Johnston, we must recall the general's attitude toward the rebellious States and his views on the subject of slavery. Originally a conservative Whig in politics, deprecating the anti-slavery agitation, as early as 1856 he had written to his brother, "Unless people both North and South learn more moderation, we'll 'see sights' in the way of civil war. Of course the North have the strength and must prevail, though the people of the South could and would be desperate enough." [Footnote: Sherman Letters, p. 63.] In 1859 he was still urging concessions instead of insisting on the absolute right, saying, "Each State has a perfect right to have its own local policy, and a majority in Congress has an absolute right to govern the whole country; but the North, being so strong in every sense of the term, can well afford to be generous, even to making reasonable concessions to the weakness and prejudices of the South." [Footnote: Sherman Letters, p. 77.] He returned to the same thought in 1860, saying, "So certain and inevitable is it that the physical and political power of this nation must pass into the hands of the free States, that I think you all can well afford to take things easy, bear the buffets of a sinking dynasty, and even smile at their impotent threats." [Footnote: Id., p. 83.]

The world is familiar with the ringing words with which he threw away his livelihood and turned from every attractive outlook in life, when, Secession having actually come, he said to the governor of Louisiana, "On no earthly account will I do any act or think any thought hostile to or in defiance of the United States." [Footnote: Id., p. 106.] But he was also one of the clearest-sighted in seeing that when slavery had appealed to the sword it would perish by the sword. In January, 1864, he expressed it tersely: "The South has made the interests of slavery the issue of the war. If they lose the war, they lose slavery." [Footnote: Id., p. 222.] At the end of the same month he said, "Three years ago, by a little reflection and patience, they could have had a hundred years of peace and prosperity; but they preferred war. Last year they could have saved their slaves, but now it is too late,--all the powers of earth cannot restore to them their slaves any more than their dead grandfathers." [Footnote: Official Records, vol, xxxii. pt. ii. p. 280.] And in the same letter, written to a subordinate with express authority to make it known to the Southern people within our lines, he said of certain administrative regulations: "These are well-established principles of war, and the people of the South, having appealed to war, are barred from appealing for protection to our Constitution, which they have practically and publicly defied. They have appealed to war, and must abide its rules and laws." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt ii. p. 279.]

Two years later Thaddeus Stevens, as radical leader in Congress, enounced the same doctrine in no more trenchant terms. Sherman was explicit in regard to its scope, but he differed from Stevens in the extent to which he would go, as a matter of sound policy and statesmanship, in applying the possible penalties of war when submission was made. It is clear that he insisted there could be no resurrection for slavery, and that the freedmen must be protected in life, liberty, and property, with a true equality before the law in this protection; but he held that they were as yet unfit for political participation in the government, much less for the assumption of political rule in the Southern States.

In a friendly letter which General Halleck wrote to Sherman immediately after the capture of Savannah, he said with a freedom that long intimacy permitted: "Whilst almost every one is praising your great march through Georgia and the capture of Savannah, there is a certain class, having now great influence with the President and very probably anticipating still more on a change of cabinet, who are decidedly disposed to make a point against you--I mean in regard to 'Inevitable Sambo.' They say that you have manifested an almost criminal dislike to the negro, and that you are not willing to carry out the wishes of the government in regard to him, but repulse him with contempt." [Footnote: Id., vol. xliv. p. 836.] In short, it was said that his march through Georgia might have been made the means of a general exodus of the slaves, and ought to have been.

Sherman made a humorous reply, saying he allowed thousands of negroes to accompany his march, and set no limit but the necessities of his military operations. "If it be insisted," he said, "that I shall so conduct my operations that the negro alone is consulted, of course I will be defeated, and then where will be Sambo? Don't military success imply the safety of Sambo, and vice versa?... They gather round me in crowds, and I can't find out whether I am Moses or Aaron or which of the prophets. . . . The South deserves all she has got for her injustice to the negro, but that is no reason why we should go to the other extreme. I do and will do the best I can for negroes, and feel sure that the problem is solving itself slowly and naturally. It needs nothing more than our fostering care." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 36.]

The Secretary of War was broadly hinted at in Halleck's letter, but when Mr. Stanton visited Sherman at Savannah, the latter understood that his mind was disabused of any unfavorable impressions he may have had. Mr. Stanton had assembled a score of the leading colored preachers as the most intelligent representatives of their race, and examined them by written questions respecting their hopes and desires, their attitude in regard to military service, and in regard to living among the whites or separately. He learned that they generally preferred to try life in a separate community of their own, and that they were strongly opposed to the methods by which State agents were trying to enlist them as substitutes for men drafted in the Northern States. He even went so far as to ask these men whether they found Sherman friendly to the colored people's rights and interests or otherwise! The answer was that they had confidence in the general, and thought their concerns could not be in better hands. Some of them had called upon him on his arrival, and now said that they did not think he could have received Mr. Stanton with more courtesy than he showed to them. [Footnote: Id., p. 41.] Sherman's order relating to the allotment of sea-island lands to the freedmen for cultivation, and to the methods of procuring their enlistment as soldiers [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. ii. p. 60.] was drafted while Mr. Stanton was with him, and he affirms that every paragraph had the Secretary's approval. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 250.]

In his feelings toward the men chiefly responsible for secession and the war, Sherman had never measured his words when expressing his condemnation and wrath. In a letter to General Robert Anderson, written only a few days before meeting Johnston in negotiation, he had spoken with deepest feeling of his satisfaction that Anderson was to raise again the flag at Fort Sumter on April 14th (the fatal day on which also Lincoln died), saying he was "glad that it falls to the lot of one so pure and noble to represent our country in a drama so solemn, so majestic, and so just." To him it looked like "a retribution decreed by Heaven itself." Reminded by this thought of those who had caused this horrid war, he exclaimed: "But the end is not yet. The brain that first conceived the thought must burst in anguish, the heart that pulsated with hellish joy must cease to beat, the hand that pulled the first laniard must be palsied, before the wicked act begun in Charleston on the 13th of April, 1861, is avenged. But 'mine, not thine, is vengeance,' saith the Lord, and we poor sinners must let him work out the drama to its close." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 107.] Such was the man who went to meet General Johnston on the 17th of April; and in considering what he then did, we must take into the account the principles, the convictions, and the feelings which were part of his very nature.

Still further, we must remember that he had, less than three weeks before, a personal conference with the President at City Point, and had obtained from him personally the views he held with regard to the terms he was prepared to grant to the several rebel States as well as to the armies which might surrender, and the method by which he expected to obtain an acknowledgment of submission from some legally constituted authority, without dealing in any way with the Confederate civil government. General Sherman is conclusive authority as to what occurred at a conference which was in the nature of instructions to him from the Commander-in-Chief; and the more carefully we examine contemporaneous records, the stronger becomes the conviction that he has accurately reported what occurred at that meeting.

"Mr. Lincoln was full and frank in his conversation," says Sherman, "assuring me that in his mind he was all ready for the civil reorganization of affairs at the South as soon as the war was over; and he distinctly authorized me to assure Governor Vance and the people of North Carolina that as soon as the rebel armies laid down their arms and resumed their civil pursuits, they would at once be guaranteed all their rights as citizens of a common country; and that to avoid anarchy, the State governments then in existence, with their civil functionaries, would be recognized by him as the government de facto till Congress could provide others." [Footnote: Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 327.]

When the general met Mr. Graham and others, he was aware that General Weitzel at Richmond had authorized the Virginia State government to assemble, Mr. Lincoln being on the ground. The views expressed in the famous interview at City Point had taken practical shape. In correspondence with Johnston while they were awaiting action on the first convention, Sherman referred to Weitzel's action as a reason for confidence that there would be "no trouble on the score of recognizing existing State governments." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 266.]

With the burden of the terrible news of Lincoln's assassination, Sherman went up to Durham Station to meet the Confederate general on the 17th of April. His grief was mingled with gloomy thoughts of the future, for it was natural that he as well as the authorities at Washington should at first think of the great crime as part of a system of desperate men to destroy both the civil and the military leaders of the country, and to disperse the armies into bands of merciless guerillas who would try the effect of anarchy now that civilized military operations had failed. We did injustice to the South in thinking so, but it was inevitable that such should be the first impression. As soon as we mingled a little with the leading soldiers and statesmen of the South we learned better, and the period of such apprehensions was a brief one, though terrible while it lasted.

But we must here consider what were the motives and purposes which, on his part, Johnston represented, when he came from Greensborough to meet his great opponent. To understand these we must trace rapidly the course of events within his military lines. When Petersburg was taken and Richmond evacuated, Mr. Davis with the members of his cabinet went to Danville, where he remained for a few days, protected by a small force under General H. H. Walker. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 741, 750.] Beauregard was at Greensborough, collecting detachments to resist an expedition which General Stoneman was leading through the mountains from Tennessee. [Footnote: Id., p. 751.] Johnston was at Smithfield with the main body of his forces, watching our army at Goldsborough and preparing to retreat toward Lee as soon as the latter might escape from Grant and give a rendezvous at Danville or Greensborough. The retreat from Petersburg made a union east of Danville probably impracticable. [Footnote:Id., pp. 682, 737.]

Grant's persistent and vigorous pursuit soon turned Lee away from the Danville road at Burkesville, pushed him toward Lynchburg, and destroyed all hope of union with Johnston. Davis had no direct communication with Lee after reaching Danville, and his position there being unsafe, after Grant had occupied Burkesville, he went to Greensborough. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 750, 787.] From Danville, on the 10th, he telegraphed Johnston that he had a report of the surrender of Lee, which there was little room to doubt. He also asked Johnston to meet him at Greensborough to confer as to future action. [Footnote: Id., p. 777.] The dispatch was, by some accident, prevented from reaching Johnston on the 10th, and Davis repeated it on the 11th, so that the news reached the Confederate headquarters only a day before we got it, on our march from Smithfield. On the same day (11th) Davis informed Governor Vance of the disaster, and suggested a meeting with him also. [Footnote: Id., p. 787.] He also forwarded to Johnston the suggestion of Beauregard (which he approved), that all the Confederate forces north of Augusta should concentrate at Salisbury.

The best evidence that Vance regarded the cause of the Confederacy as lost is found in his resolve to send a deputation to meet Sherman without waiting to confer with Davis. Johnston issued on the 11th his orders for the continued march of his army westward from Raleigh along the railroad, [Footnote: Id., p. 789.] and himself proceeded to Greensborough by train, to have the appointed conference. Whilst Davis and he were together on the 12th, Stoneman's cavalry, which had been in the vicinity the day before and had made a break in the Danville road, was heard of at Shallow Ford, on the Yadkin, about thirty miles west. Part of the troops at Greensborough were at once sent to Salisbury, which was about the same distance from the Yadkin ford. [Footnote:Id., p. 791.] At the same time came a cipher dispatch from Colonel Anderson of Johnston's staff, whom the latter had left at Raleigh, saying that Governor Vance was sending Messrs. Graham and Swain to meet Sherman, presumably by permission of Hardee, who was senior officer in Johnston's absence. Colonel Anderson had taken the responsibility of asking Hampton not to let them pass his cavalry outposts. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 791.] By Davis's direction, Johnston at once telegraphed Hardee to arrest the delegation and to permit no intercourse with us except under proper military flag of truce. [Footnote: Ibid.] Vance was of course informed by Hardee, and replied that he intended nothing subversive of Davis's prerogative or without consulting him. He also said that Johnston was aware of his purpose. [Footnote: Id., p. 792.] In saying further, however, that the initiative had been on Sherman's part, he was dissembling. [Footnote: See the letters, Id., p. 178.] The difficulty put in the way of his representatives in getting beyond the Confederate lines is thus accounted for, as well as his failure to remain in Raleigh on our arrival. Davis found it politic to accept the explanation, [Footnote: Id., p. 792.] but we may safely assume that the matter was discussed between him and Johnston, and that it led to its discussion with his cabinet also; for Johnston remained with him till the 14th, leaving to Hardee the direction of the army on the march, which was ordered to be pressed towards Greensborough. [Footnote: Id., pp. 796, 797.] The troops at Danville were called to the same rendezvous, and General Echols, with those in West Virginia, was ordered to make his way through the mountains to the northwestern part of South Carolina. [Footnote: Id., pp. 795, 796.]

In a formal conference with his advisers on the 13th (Thursday), all of the cabinet officers except Benjamin declared themselves of Johnston's and Beauregard's opinion, that a further prosecution of the war was hopeless; that the Southern Confederacy was in fact overthrown, and that the wise thing to do was to make at once the best terms possible. [Footnote: Johnston's Narrative, pp. 397-400.] Davis argued that the crisis might rouse the Southern people to new and desperate efforts, and that overtures for peace on the basis of submission were premature. The general opinion, however, was so strong against him that he reluctantly yielded, and, to make sure that he should not be committed further than he meant, he himself dictated, and Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, wrote, the letter to Sherman, signed by Johnston, asking for an armistice between all the armies, if General Grant would consent, "the object being to permit the civil authorities to enter into the needful arrangements to terminate the existing war." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 206.] The form of each sentence of the letter is significant, in view of its authorship, but most so is the plain meaning of that just quoted, to make a complete surrender upon such terms as the National government should dictate. In like manner the opening sentence, "The results of the recent campaign in Virginia have changed the relative military condition of the belligerents," was a confession in diplomatic form of final defeat. Before sending the letter to Sherman, Johnston copied it with his own hand, in order, no doubt, to have a duplicate for his own protection, as well as to preserve secrecy. [Footnote: The only difference is that in his copy he put the date of the 13th at its head (the true date), whilst the original which he says he sent to Sherman (Narr., p. 400) was dated the 14th, when it would be sent from his outposts; a bit of forethought on Mr. Davis's part, which guarded against Sherman's suspicion that it had been prepared at a distance and had travelled more than a day's journey. Both of the duplicates are in the war archives, that written by Mr. Mallory having the indorsement in Sherman's own hand of its receipt on the 14th. (Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 206, note.) In the Records Sherman's indorsement of the receipt of Johnston's dispatch is "12 night." This seems to be a clerical error, and should be "noon." (See Id., pp. 209, 215, 216, and Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 346.) Mr. Davis's account is not inconsistent with Johnston's, which he had seen. (Rise and Fall, vol. ii. pp. 681, 684.)]

Sherman lost not a moment in answering, 1st, that he had power and was willing to arrange a suspension of hostilities between the armies under their respective commands, indicating a halt on both sides on the 15th; 2d, that he offered as a basis the terms given Lee at Appomattox: 3d, interpreting Johnston's reference to "other armies" which he desired the truce to include as referring to Stoneman (whom we had heard of in Raleigh as burning railway bridges on both sides of Greensborough [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 197.]), he said that Stoneman was under his command, and that he would obtain from Grant a suspension of other movements from Virginia. [Footnote:Id., p. 207.] All this was strictly within the limits of Sherman's military authority and discretion.

The 15th of April (Saturday) was a day of pouring rain, making the roads almost impassable for wagons, as they were already cut up by the retreating army and by our advance. Sherman expected a reply from Johnston early, for he had directed Kilpatrick on Friday afternoon to send his answer at once to the Confederate lines. [Footnote: Id., p. 215.] He was annoyed at the delay, and sent up Major McCoy of his staff to Morrisville on the railway, where Kilpatrick's headquarters were, taking with him a telegraph operator to open an office there. But Kilpatrick had gone to his own outposts toward Hillsborough, and his staff seem to have been in no hurry to forward Sherman's letter, so that it was delivered to Hampton at sundown of the 15th instead of the 14th. [Footnote: Id., p. 222, 233, 234.] A locomotive engine was sent to McCoy on Sunday (16th), and with it he went on to Durham, taking his telegrapher along. Some torpedoes had been found on the road below, and McCoy diminished the risk from any others, by putting some empty cars ahead of the locomotive to explode them if there should be any. He got through safely, however, found Kilpatrick at Durham, opened telegraphic communication with headquarters at Raleigh, was authorized to read and transmit by the wire Johnston's reply, and so was able before night to give his impatiently waiting chief the Confederate general's proposal to meet in conference between the lines next morning, and to return Sherman's consent. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 229-231.]

Meanwhile Kilpatrick had been sending dispatches saying he did not believe Johnston could be trusted, that his whole army was marching on, that the delay was a ruse to gain time, and that no confidence could be placed "in the word of a rebel, no matter what may be his position. He is but a traitor at best." [Footnote:Id., pp. 224, 233.] Sherman answered: "I have faith in General Johnston's personal sincerity, and do not believe he would use a subterfuge to cover his movements. He could not stop the movement of his troops till he got my letter, which I hear was delayed all day yesterday by your adjutants' not sending it forward." His faith in Johnston's honorable dealing was justified, but the delay had brought the Confederate infantry to the neighborhood of Greensborough. [Footnote: Id., p. 234. Also Johnston's Narrative, p. 401.]

On the 15th Sherman had sent both to Grant and to the Secretary of War copies of Johnston's overture and his own answer. He added that he should "be careful not to complicate any points of civil policy;" that he had invited Governor Vance to return to Raleigh with the civil officers of the State, and that ex-Governor Graham, Messrs. Badger, Moore, Holden, and others all agreed "that the war is over and that the States of the South must resume their allegiance, subject to the Constitution and laws of Congress, and that the military power of the South must submit to the National arms. This great fact once admitted," he said, "all the details are easy of arrangement." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 221.] He directed this to be sent by a swift steamer to Fort Monroe and from there by telegraph to Washington. As this dispatch was sent part of the way by telegraph, it should have reached Washington more than three days ahead of the convention signed on the 18th and carried to the capital by Major Hitchcock, who left Raleigh in the night of that day:[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 246.] but no answer seems to have been made to it, unless it be in a dispatch of Grant on the 20th in which he directed the movement of Howard's and Slocum's armies to City Point in case Johnston surrendered. [Footnote: Id., p. 257.]

On Monday (April 17th), with the burden of the knowledge of Lincoln's assassination on his mind, Sherman went up to Durham by rail, accompanied by a few officers. There he met General Kilpatrick, who furnished a cavalry company as an escort, and led-horses to mount the party. [Footnote: Id., pp. 234, 235.] The bearer of the flag of truce and a trumpeter were in advance, followed by part of the escort, the general and his officers came next, the little cavalcade closing with the rest of the escort in due order. They rode about five miles on the Hillsborough road, when they met General Wade Hampton advancing with a flag from the other side. The house of a Mr. Bennett, near by, was made the place of conference. When Sherman and Johnston were alone, the dispatch announcing Mr. Lincoln's murder was shown the Confederate, and as he read it, Sherman tells us, beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead, his face showed the horror and distress he felt, and he denounced the act as a disgrace to the age. [Footnote: Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 349,] Both realized the danger that terrible results would follow if hostilities should be resumed, and both were impelled to yield whatever seemed possible to bring the war to an immediate end. In this praiseworthy spirit their discussion was carried on, Johnston saying that "the greatest possible calamity to the South had happened." [Footnote: Johnston's Narrative, p. 402.]

Johnston's first point was that his proposal of the 14th had been that the civil authorities should negotiate as to the terms of peace, while the armistice should continue. Sherman could not deal with the Confederate civil government or recognize it. It could only dissolve and vanish when the separate states should make their submission, and these were the only governments de facto with whom dealings could be had. Postponing this matter, they proceeded to the practical one,--the terms that could be assured to the armies of the South and to the States.

Here they found themselves not far apart. As to the troops, nothing more liberal could be asked than the terms already given to Lee. Sherman knew of Mr. Lincoln's willingness that the State governments should continue to act, if they began by declaring the Confederacy dissolved by defeat, and the authority of the United States recognized and acknowledged. He had no knowledge of any change in the policy of the government in this respect, and what he had said to Governor Vance's delegation was satisfactory to both negotiators.

But how as to amnesty? Here Sherman was also able to give Lincoln's own words, declaring his desire that the people in general should be assured of all their rights of life, liberty, and property, and the political rights of citizens of a common country on their complete submission. Lincoln wanted no more lives sacrificed, and would use his power to make amnesty complete. He could not control the legislative or the judicial department of the government, but he spoke for himself as executive. An agreement was easy here also.

What, then, as to slavery? Sherman regarded it utterly dead in the regions occupied by the Confederates at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863), and Johnston frankly admitted that surrender in view of the whole situation acknowledged the end of the system which had been the great stake in the war. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 243.] The Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, abolishing slavery, had then been accepted by twenty States, Arkansas did so three days later, and the six Northern States which had been delayed in action upon it were as certain to ratify as that a little time should roll round. [Footnote: Rickey's Constitution, p. 43.] It was therefore no figure of speech to say that slavery was dead: Sherman, Johnston, and Breckinridge knew it to be true. But Johnston urged that to secure the prompt and peaceful acquiescence of the whole South, it was undesirable to force upon them irritating acknowledgments even of what they tacitly admitted to themselves was true; further, that the subject was not included in the scope of a military convention. If slavery was in fact abolished by Mr. Lincoln's proclamation, it was for Congress and the courts so to declare it, and two soldiers arranging the surrender had no call to assert all the legal consequences which would flow from the act. Sherman yielded to this argument, not from any doubt as to the fact of freedom, but from a certainty of it so complete that he would not prolong dispute to obtain a formal assent to it. He was the more ready to do so as he insisted that he acted simply as the representative of the Executive as Commander-in-Chief, and neither could nor would promise immunity from prosecutions under indictments or confiscation-laws. He said also that whilst he agreed with Mr. Lincoln in hoping no executions or long imprisonments would occur, he advised the leading men in the Confederate Government to get out of the country.

As to the disposal of the arms in the hands of the Confederate soldiers from North Carolina to Texas, both knew that little of practical moment depended on the form of the agreement. So many arms were thrown away, so many were concealed by soldiers who loved the weapons they had carried, that even in our own ranks no satisfactory collection of them could be made. But a real and present apprehension with both officers was the scattering of armed men in guerilla bands. If the law-abiding were disarmed and those who scattered and refused to give up their weapons were at large, how could the States preserve the peace? To this point Sherman said he attached most importance. This was not an afterthought when defending his action; he wrote it to Grant in the letter transmitting the terms when they were made. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 243.] The same thought was forced home on the Confederates by their experience at the time. Before the negotiations were finally concluded, bands of paroled men from Lee's army, and stragglers were able to stop trains on the railroad on which Johnston's army was dependent for supplies, and it would have been intolerable to leave the country at the mercy of that class. [Footnote: Id., pp. 818, 819.] To keep the troops of each State under discipline till they deposited the arms at State capitals, where United States garrisons would be, and where the final disposal of them would be "subject to the future action of Congress," seemed prudent and safe; and this was agreed to. [Footnote: Id., pp. 243, 244.]

In the first day's conference it seemed clear that the generals could easily agree upon all they thought essential, except the exclusion of Mr. Davis and his chief civil officers from any part in the negotiations and making the terms of amnesty general. An adjournment to Tuesday was had to give Johnston time to consult with General Breckinridge, the Secretary of War, and for Sherman to reflect further on the amnesty question. [Footnote: Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 350; Johnston's Narrative, p. 404.] As soon as the latter reached Raleigh, he dispatched to Grant, through a staff officer at New Berne, a brief report of the "full and frank interchange of opinions" with Johnston. "He evidently seeks to make terms for Jeff. Davis and his cabinet," he said. The adjournment was mentioned with its reason; and to negative any thought that he might neglect military advantages by the delay, he said, "We lose nothing in time, as by agreement both armies stand still, and the roads are drying up, so that if I am forced to pursue, we will be able to make better speed. There is great danger that the Confederate armies will dissolve and fill the whole land with robbers and assassins, and I think this is one of the difficulties that Johnston labors under. The assassination of Mr. Lincoln shows one of the elements in the rebel army which will be almost as difficult to deal with as the main armies." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 237.]

When the two generals met again on Tuesday, General Breckinridge was with Johnston's party, and the latter requested that he might take part in the conference; but Sherman adhered to his position that he would deal only with the military officers and objected to Breckinridge as Secretary of War. Johnston suggested that he might be present simply as a general officer, but adding that his personal relations to Mr. Davis would greatly aid in securing final approval of anything to which he assented. With this understanding he was allowed to be present. Mr. Reagan, Postmaster-General, had also come with Breckinridge to General Hampton's headquarters, but did not proceed further. He was busy there, Johnston tells us, in throwing into form the terms which the general thought were fairly included in the conversational comparison of views on the previous day, with the exception of the amnesty, which was made general without exceptions. [Footnote: Johnston's Narrative, p. 404.] This must, of course, have been from notes written at Johnston's dictation.

Sherman was now informed that the Confederate general had authority to negotiate a military convention for the surrender of all the Confederate armies, and that if the terms could be agreed upon, the Davis government would disband, like the armies, and use the influence of its members to secure the submission of all the several States. Johnston, on his part, would be content with the conclusions informally reached on Monday, except that he wanted the principle inserted of amnesty without exceptions. Mr. Reagan's draft was produced and read. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 806.] It contained a preamble stating motives for the action proposed, and professed to be no more than a basis for further negotiation. A note appended to it referred to several things necessary to a conclusion of the business which might be subsequently added. The preamble, as well as this note, was no proper part of the terms, and Sherman entirely objected to any preamble of the kind, wishing to include only the things necessary to an agreement. He therefore took his pen, and then and there wrote off rapidly his own expression of the points he had intended to agree to, but explicitly as a "memorandum or basis" for submission to their principals.

They were, First, the continuance of the armistice, terminable on short notice; Second, the disbanding of all the Confederate armies under parol and deposit of their arms subject to the control of the National government; Third, recognition by the Executive of existing State governments; Fourth, re-establishment of Federal Courts; Fifth, guaranty for the future of general rights of person, property, and political rights "so far as the Executive can;" Sixth, freedom for the people from disturbance on account of the past, by "the Executive authority of the government;" the seventh item was a general résumé of results aimed at. [Footnote: Id., p 243.] The most striking difference between this statement and that which Mr. Reagan had drawn, besides the omission of the preamble, was the express limitation of the proposed action by the powers of the National executive, with neither promise nor suggestion as to what the courts or Congress might or might not do.

In transmitting the memorandum through General Grant, Sherman wrote that the point to which he attached most importance was "that the dispersion and disbandment of those armies is done in such a manner as to prevent their breaking up into guerilla bands," whilst there was no restriction on our right to military occupation. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 243.] As to slavery, he said, "Both generals Johnston and Breckinridge admitted that slavery was dead, and I could not insist on embracing it in such a paper, because it can be made with the States in detail." [Footnote: Ibid.] He also referred to the financial question, and the necessity of stopping war expenditures and getting the officers and men of the army home to work. Writing to Halleck as chief of staff at the same time, he referred to the same topics, expressed his belief, from all he saw and heard, that "even Mr. Davis was not privy to the diabolical plot" of assassination, but that it was "the emanation of a set of young men of the South who are very devils." [Footnote:Id., p. 245.] He told Halleck that Johnston informed him that Stoneman's cavalry had been at Salisbury, but was then near Statesville, which was on the road back to Tennessee, about forty miles west of Salisbury and double that distance west of Greensborough.

A week now intervened, in which the important papers were journeying to Washington and the orders of the government coming back. On the 20th Sherman had occasion to inform Johnston of steps he had taken to enforce the details of the truce, and as evidence that he had not mistaken Mr. Lincoln's views in regard to the State governments, he enclosed a late paper showing that "in Virginia the State authorities are acknowledged and invited to resume their lawful functions." [Footnote: Id., p. 257.] The convention seemed therefore in harmony with the course actually pursued by the administration at Washington, and the negotiators were justified in feeling reassured.

Another day passed, and as other incidents in the relations of the armies needed to be communicated to Johnston, Sherman recurred again to the encouraging feature of the leave to assemble the Virginia legislature, but added some reflections on points which he thought might require more explicit treatment than they had given, and he suggested Johnston's conference with the best Southern men, so that he might be ready to act without delay if modifications should be required in the final convention. "It may be," he said, "that the lawyers will want us to define more minutely what is meant by the guaranty of rights of person and property. It may be construed into a compact for us to undo the past as to the rights of slaves, and 'leases of plantations' on the Mississippi, of 'vacant and abandoned' plantations. I wish you would talk to the best men you have on these points, and if possible, let us, in the final convention, make these points so clear as to leave no room for angry controversy. I believe if the South would simply and publicly declare what we all feel, that slavery is dead, that you would inaugurate an era of peace and prosperity that would soon efface the ravages of the past four years of war. Negroes would remain in the South and afford you abundance of cheap labor, which otherwise will be driven away, and it will save the country the senseless discussions which have kept us all in hot water for fifty years. Although, strictly speaking, this is no subject of a military convention, yet I am honestly convinced that our simple declaration of a result will be accepted as good law everywhere. Of course I have not a single word from Washington on this or any other point of our agreement, but I know the effect of such a step by us will be universally accepted." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 266.]

On the same day (21st), he was replying to a letter from an acquaintance of former days residing at Wilmington. In this reply he spoke out more vigorously his own sentiments: "The idea of war to perpetuate slavery in the year 1861 was an insult to the intelligence of the age." War being begun by the South, "it was absurd to suppose we were bound to respect that kind of property or any kind of property. . . . The result is nearly accomplished, and is what you might have foreseen." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 271.]

On the 23d he sent a bundle of newspapers to Johnston and Hardee, giving the developments of the assassination plot and the hopes that the Sewards would recover. In the unofficial note accompanying them, he said: "The feeling North on this subject is more intense than anything that ever occurred before. General Ord at Richmond has recalled the permission given for the Virginia legislature, and I fear much the assassination of the President will give a bias to the popular mind which, in connection with the desire of our politicians, may thwart our purpose of recognizing 'existing local governments.' But it does seem to me there must be good sense enough left on this continent to give order and shape to the now disjointed elements of government. I believe this assassination of Mr. Lincoln will do the cause of the South more harm than any event of the war, both at home and abroad, and I doubt if the Confederate military authorities had any more complicity with it than I had. I am thus frank with you, and have asserted as much to the War Department. But I dare not say as much for Mr. Davis or some of the civil functionaries, for it seems the plot was fixed for March 4, but delayed awaiting some instructions from Richmond." [Footnote: Id., p. 287.]

The whole tenor of this letter speaks most clearly the faith which personal intercourse with Johnston had given Sherman in his honor and his sincerity of desire that the war should end. The same had been expressed in an official note of the same date in which Sherman had said in regard to his directions to General Wilson in Georgia: "I have almost exceeded the bounds of prudence in checking him without the means of direct communication, and only did so on my absolute faith in your personal character." [Footnote: Id., p. 286.] The faith was not misplaced and was not disappointed.

The correspondence thus quoted reveals to us Sherman's thoughts from day to day, the real opinions and sentiments which he intended to embody in the convention, and his recognition of the probability that its provisions would need more explicit definition before the final acts of negotiation. It shows, too, how frank he was in warning Johnston that the terrible crime at Washington had changed the situation. It seems indisputable that this open-hearted dealing between the generals made it much easier for them to come together on the final terms, by having revealed to Johnston the motives and convictions which animated his opponent in seeking the blessing of peace as well as in applying the scourge of war.

As further evidence of what Sherman told us, his subordinates, of the terms agreed upon, I quote the entry in my diary of what I understood them to be, on the 19th, the day following the signing of the convention, after personal conversation with the general: "Johnston's army is to separate, the troops going to their several States; at the State capitals they are to surrender their arms and all public property. Part of the arms are to be left to the State governments and the rest turned over to the United States. The officers and soldiers are not to be punished by the United States Government for their part in the war, but all are left liable to private prosecutions and indictments in the courts." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. i. p. 938.]

In the evening of the 23d Sherman heard of the arrival at Morehead City of Major Hitchcock, his messenger to Washington, and he at once notified Johnston that the dispatches would reach him in the morning. He asked the latter to be ready "to resume negotiations when the contents of the dispatches are known." [Footnote:Id., pt. ii. p. 287.] When Major Hitchcock came up on a night train reaching Raleigh at six in the morning, to Sherman's great surprise General Grant came also, unheralded and unannounced. [Footnote: Id., p. 286.]



CHAPTER L

THE SECOND SHERMAN--JOHNSTON CONVENTION--SURRENDER

Davis's last cabinet meeting--Formal opinions approving the "Basis"--"The Confederacy is conquered"--Grant brings disapproval from the Johnston administration--Sherman gives notice of the termination of the truce--No military disadvantage from it--Sherman's vindication of himself--Grant's admirable conduct--Johnston advises Davis to yield--Capitulation assented to, but a volunteer cavalry force to accompany Davis's flight--A new conference at Durham--Davis's imaginary treasure--Grant's return to Washington--Terms of the parole given by Johnston's army--The capitulation complete--Schofield and his army to carry out the details--The rest of Sherman's army marches north--His farewell to Johnston--Order announcing the end of the war--Johnston's fine reply--Stanton's strange dispatch to the newspapers--Its tissue of errors--Its baseless objections--Sherman's exasperation--Interference with his military authority over his subordinates--Garbling Grant's dispatch--Sherman strikes back--Breach between Sherman and Halleck--It also grew out of the published matter--Analysis of the facts--My opinion as recorded at the time.

When Grant reached Sherman's headquarters on the morning of the 24th of April, Johnston had not yet been notified of the action of the Confederate government as to the agreed "Basis" of surrender. Having got Sherman's dispatch of the evening before, he telegraphed to General Breckinridge, the Secretary of War at Greensborough, that there must be immediate readiness to act. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 834.] Breckinridge, however, had gone to Charlotte, about eighty miles down the road, near the South Carolina line, where Mr. Davis held the last meeting of his cabinet, and procured from each of them his formal, written opinion and advice. Davis himself now telegraphed the result to Johnston, saying: "Your action is approved. You will so inform General Sherman, and if the like authority be given by the Government of the United States to complete the arrangement, you will proceed on the 'Basis' adopted." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 834.] He added that further instructions would be given as to the subordinate details which, by common consent, must be added to the "Basis" to perfect it.

The cabinet opinions were unanimous in favor of approving the "Basis." Benjamin's, Reagan's, and Attorney-General Davis's were dated the 22d, Breckinridge's the 23d, and Mallory's the 24th. [Footnote: Id., pp. 821, 823, 827, 830, 832.]

In varying words they all admitted what Mallory put most tersely, in saying "The Confederacy is conquered." [Footnote: Id., p. 833.] Several of them discussed the possibility of carrying on a guerilla warfare, but could see in it no useful result. They agreed that if Johnston retreated to the Gulf States, the troops would disperse spontaneously. Virginia and North Carolina would separately withdraw from the Confederacy, and the other States would follow. Benjamin expressed the common opinion that the terms of the convention "exact only what the victor always requires,--the relinquishment by his foe of the object for which the struggle was commenced." [Footnote: Id., p. 822.] He also well formulated their judgment that, as political head, Davis could not make peace by dissolving the Confederacy; but as commander-in-chief he could ratify the military convention disbanding the armies. "He can end hostilities. The States alone can act in dissolving the Confederacy and returning to the Union according to the terms of the convention." [Footnote:Ibid.] Reagan alone spoke of hopes that by submission the States might procure advantages not mentioned in the "Basis," and found comfort in the fact that it contained "no direct reference to the question of slavery." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 824.] Taken together, these important documents contain the strongest possible admission of the utter ruin of the Confederacy and of the simple truth that there was nothing left for them but to surrender at discretion, with such dignity as they might. Of themselves the cabinet opinions changed the situation, and made it impossible to resume plans of further resistance after the convention was rejected at Washington. With them the Confederate Government vanished.

For it was a disapproval that Grant had brought. On receiving the "Memorandum, or Basis," from Sherman, on the 21st, he had at once seen that the latter had acted in ignorance of the facts: first, that Mr. Lincoln had himself, two days before his death, withdrawn the permission for the Virginia legislature to assemble; and second, that he had, a month before Lee's surrender, directed that military negotiations should not treat of any subject of civil policy. In view, therefore, of the tendency to severity which followed the assassination, it was evident that the convention would not be approved, and, as soon as action had been taken by the President in cabinet meeting, Grant wrote a calm and friendly letter to Sherman, in explanation of the rejection of the "Basis," inclosing Stanton's formal notice and order to resume hostilities. [Footnote: Id., pp. 263, 264.] These were intrusted to Major Hitchcock, but, as we have seen, Grant accompanied the messenger in person.

Sherman having, only the day before, learned of the change of policy with regard to Virginia, and notified Johnston of its probable effect, was prepared in part for the disapproval, and was personally glad to be rid of political negotiation. He made no objection or remonstrance, but even before discussing the subject with Grant, wrote his notice to Johnston of the termination of the truce within forty-eight hours, as agreed. With this he sent a note stating his orders "not to attempt civil negotiations," and demanding surrender of Johnston's own army "on the same terms as were given General Lee at Appomattox." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 293, 294.] These dispatches were dated at six in the morning of the 24th, a few minutes after Grant's arrival. [Footnote: Grant to Stanton, Id., p. 293.]

Sherman then explained to the General-in-Chief the military situation, the position of his several corps, his readiness to make the race with Johnston for Charlotte, the completed repair of the railroad through Raleigh to Durham, the accumulation of supplies, and the improved condition of the country roads. The truce had worked him no disadvantage from a military standpoint, but the contrary. The only thing which annoyed him in the dispatches from Washington was the last sentence in Mr. Stanton's communication to Grant, saying, "The President desires that you proceed immediately to the headquarters of General Sherman and direct operations against the enemy." [Footnote: Id., p. 263.] The implication in this was a distrust of him which was wholly unjust, and he replied to it, "I had flattered myself that by four years' patient, unremitting, and successful labor I deserved no such reminder."