Infomotions, Inc.November 1863-June 1865 / Cox, Jacob Dolson, 1828-1900



Author: Cox, Jacob Dolson, 1828-1900
Title: November 1863-June 1865
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): sherman; schofield; corps; johnston; army; cavalry; confederate; tennessee; official records; division; general schofield; brigadier general; troops; general cox; official; north carolina; records; east tennessee; confederate states; army corps
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Title: Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V2

Author: Jacob Dolson Cox

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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.] In the present case it ought to have been evident
to the authorities at Washington that as soon as Burnside occupied
East Tennessee, both distance and the peculiar conditions of his
problem would forbid any efficient cooperation with Rosecrans. The
latter was the junior in rank, and knew that, whatever might be
Burnside's generosity, there were many possible contingencies in
such a campaign in which the War Department might find it the easy
solution of a difficulty to direct the senior officer to assume the
command of both armies. So long as matters went well, Rosecrans had
little or no communication with Burnside; but as soon as the enemy
began to show a bold front, he became impatient for assistance. The
perplexities of his own situation made him blind to those of
Burnside. This is human nature, and was, no doubt, true of both in
varying degrees. Halleck, at Washington, was in no true sense a
commander of the armies. He had given peremptory orders to advance
in June and again in July, but when asked whether this relieved the
subordinate of responsibility and took away his discretion, could
make no distinct answer. The unpleasant relations thus created
necessarily affected the whole campaign. Halleck hesitated to advise
a halt when he learned that Longstreet had gone to reinforce Bragg,
and Rosecrans dreaded the blame of halting without such suggestion.
So the battle had to be fought, and the ill consequences had to be
repaired afterward as best they could.

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 coupe_. 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: _Id_pt. 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 role 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
_piece de resistance_ 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 Soule 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.

[Illustration: 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 premiere, attaquee avec vigueur par le general Lusignan
appuye par Laudon, ne soutint qu'un moment le choc, et se rabattit
sur la seconde; elle esperait se reformer en arriere de celle-ci, en
faisant ce qu'on appelle une passage de ligne; mais il fut demontre
une fois de plus, que cette manoeuvre, qui fait un assez bel effet a
la parade, ne peut reussir a la guerre lorsqu'on est suivi par un
ennemi actif. La premiere entraina la seconde dans un mouvement
retrograde; de plus elle y apporta assez de confusion pour que ces
deux lignes reunies crussent n'avoir d'autre parti a prendre que
celui de la fuite," etc. Memoires, 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.

[Illustration: 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.]

[Illustration: 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.

[Illustration: 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 _regime_ 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.

[Illustration: 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 _melee_ 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.]

[Illustration: 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.

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 [Illustration: [map of south-central
North Carolina at the South Carolina border]] 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.]

[Illustration: 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_.]

[Illustration: 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 resume 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." [Footnote: _Id_., p.
302.] In a letter to Grant of the same date he put upon record the
fact that he had reason to suppose that his "Memorandum" accurately
reflected Mr. Lincoln's ideas and purposes, and that he was wholly
uninformed of the instructions in regard to negotiating upon civil
questions. He stood by his opinions on the propriety of using the
_de facto_ governments in the separate States as agents of
submission for their people. He pointed out that the military
convention did not meddle with the right of the courts to punish
past crimes, and stated that he admitted the need of clearer
definition as to the guaranty of rights of person and property.
[Footnote: _Ibid._] The points he thus discussed were those he got
from Grant orally, for he had, as yet, no other knowledge of the
criticisms made by President Johnson or his cabinet.

Grant's sincere friendship and his freedom from the least desire to
exhibit his own power had made him act as a visitor rather than a
commander. He appreciated Sherman's perfect readiness to accept the
methods dictated by the civil authorities, and saw that his zeal was
as ardent as it was at Atlanta or Savannah. The results of the
honest frankness of the dealings between Sherman and Johnston were
speedily seen. The Confederate general perfectly understood the
meaning of the notice to end the truce, and that his great opponent
would do his military duty to the uttermost. Whilst ordering his
army to be ready to move at the expiration of the truce, he also
declared to Mr. Davis, in asking for instructions, that it were
better to yield than to have Sherman's army again traverse the
country. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 835.]
Davis suggested, through Breckinridge, that the infantry and
artillery might be disbanded, but the cavalry and horse-batteries
brought off to accompany the high civil officers who would try to
reach the Southwest. [Footnote: _Ibid._] Johnston replied that this
would only provide for saving these functionaries from captivity.
This might be done by Mr. Davis moving with a smaller cavalry
escort, without losing a moment. To save the people, the country,
and the army, an honorable military capitulation ought to be made
before the expiration of the armistice. He said that his subordinate
commanders did not believe their troops would fight again, and that
news was received of the fall of Mobile, with 3,000 prisoners, and
the capture of Macon, with a number of prominent generals.
[Footnote: _Id._, P. 836.] Early on the 25th Breckinridge assented
to the capitulation, but directed that General Wade Hampton, with
the mounted men who chose to follow him, might join the President.
[Footnote: _Id._, p. 837.] Upon this, Johnston wrote Sherman, asking
that instead of a surrender and disbanding in the field, his army
might have the arrangement for going home in organizations which had
been made by the Memorandum of the 18th, giving as a reason that
Lee's paroled men were already afflicting the country, collecting in
bands which had no means of subsistence but robbery. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 304.] Sherman then
appointed a new conference at Durham, for the 26th, at noon.
[Footnote: _Ibid_.] He had learned from Grant that it was believed
at Washington that Davis had with him a large treasure in specie,
making for Cuba by way of Florida, and sent at once a dispatch to
Admiral Dahlgren, naval commander at Charleston, asking that officer
to try to intercept him. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 310.]

General Grant's complete satisfaction with Sherman's personal
attitude and readiness to accept the action of the President was
shown in his wish to return at once to Washington. He prepared to
start from Raleigh on the morning of the 26th, taking a steamer from
New Berne on arriving there. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 309.] He expected,
of course that the surrender would be completed and the result
telegraphed him by the time his vessel was ready to start, but he
was also moved by delicacy toward Sherman and the desire to relieve
him from every appearance of supervision which his stay at Raleigh
might give. Sherman, however, was also chivalrous, and requested
Grant not to leave till he should see the capitulation finally
signed. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 312.] All this, it must be remembered,
was in entire ignorance of the follies perpetrated at the War
Department during those days.

The hour fixed for the new conference at Durham was the same at
which the armistice would expire; but Sherman, having the troops in
readiness to start at a moment's notice, ordered that no movement
should be made till his return. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 314.] An
accident to his railroad delayed Johnston two or three hours, but on
his arrival a brief conference satisfied him that the only course to
pursue was to surrender on the terms given to Lee, and to trust to
Sherman's assurance that such arrangements would be made in
executing the capitulation as would guard against the evils of the
dispersion of his army without means of subsistence, which both
officers justly feared. As in Lee's case the language used avoided
terms which implied being prisoners of war even momentarily, but
provided that after delivering the arms to an ordnance officer at
Greensborough (excepting side-arms of officers) and giving an
"individual obligation not to take up arms against the Government of
the United States, . . . all the officers and men will be permitted
to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by the United States
authorities so long as they observe their obligation and the laws in
force where they may reside." [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xlvii. pt. iii. p. 313.]

At half-past seven in the evening Grant was able to write his
dispatch to Stanton, Secretary of War, that the surrender was
complete, and by using the telegraph to New Berne and Morehead City,
and from Fort Monroe to Washington, the news reached Washington at
ten in the morning of the 28th. [Footnote: _Id._, p. 311.] The same
evening, and by same means of transmittal, he also informed Halleck
at Richmond of the surrender, and recalled all his troops out of
Sherman's theatre of operations. [Footnote: On April 16th Halleck
had been assigned to command the Department of Virginia, thus
relieving him of duty as chief of staff of the army in which General
Rawlins succeeded him. On April 19th his command was made the
Military Division of the James, including besides Virginia such
parts of North Carolina as Sherman should not occupy. (Official
Records, vol. xlvii. pt, iii. pp. 230, 250.) In reading the Official
Records of this period, it must be borne constantly in mind that
from two to four days was required to convey dispatches from Sherman
to the War Department and _vice versa_,--the longer time in case
they were sent by mail, and the shorter when use was made in part of
the telegraph lines.] After hearing the details of Sherman's
conversations with Johnston, and approving the suggestions of
liberal arrangements looking to getting the Confederate troops
quickly and quietly back to peaceful industry at their homes, Grant
parted with us at Raleigh on the 27th, and returned as rapidly as
possible to Washington, where the influence of his calm judgment and
executive ability was sorely needed.

The orders for National forces in North Carolina except Schofield's
troops to march homeward were issued on the 27th. Kilpatrick's
division of cavalry was attached to Schofield's command, and the
Army of the Ohio thus reinforced was left to garrison the Department
of North Carolina. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii.
p. 323.] To General Schofield was also intrusted the preparation of
the printed paroles for all the troops included in the capitulation,
so that there might be uniformity. To him also was committed the
conclusion of the supplementary terms needed for the liberal
execution of the convention, as had been discussed at the personal
meeting of the commanders, at which he had been present. [Footnote:
_Id_., pp. 320, 322.] Johnston sent in a draft of what he had
understood to be thus informally arranged, the most important items
of which were the "loan" to the Confederates of their army animals
and wagons for farming purposes, the retention of a portion of their
arms to enforce order and discipline till the separate organizations
should reach their homes, and the extension of the privileges of the
convention to naval officers of the Confederacy. [Footnote: _Id_.,
p. 321.] With slight modifications these were accepted by General
Schofield and carried out. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 350, 355, 482.] A
large issue of rations to Johnston's troops had been voluntarily
added without any request or stipulation. [Footnote: Schofield's
Forty-six Years in the Army, p. 352, etc.; Sherman's Memoirs, vol.
ii. pp. 362, 363; Johnston's Narrative, pp. 412-420. General
Schofield's recollection is that he wrote the convention of the
26th, Johnston and Sherman being unable to agree: but as it was in
substance a transcript of the Grant-Lee terms of April 9th,
according to Sherman's note to Johnston of the 24th demanding their
acceptance "purely and simply" (Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt.
iii. p. 294), the account I have given seems to me best supported by
all the evidence.] Both parties understood that Johnston's command
included all Confederate troops east of the Chattahoochee, though
this is not stated in the terms. [Footnote: Grant to Halleck,
Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 312; Johnston to York,
_Id._, p. 854; Do. to Governor Brown, _Id._, p. 855. Sherman's Field
Order No. 65, _Id._, p. 322.] At the earnest request of the
Confederate general, none of our troops were sent up to
Greensborough, where his headquarters and principal camp were, until
the printing of the paroles was completed and staff officers sent to
issue them on April 30th. [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 349, 350, 35l. 483.]
Sherman wrote a farewell letter to Johnston on the 27th, telling of
his instructions to General Schofield to give him ten days' rations
for 25,000 men, "to facilitate what you and I and all good men
desire, the return to their homes of the officers and men composing
your army." [Footnote: _Id._, p. 320.] He spoke also of his
directions to "loan" to them enough animals fit for farming purposes
to insure a crop. Concluding, he said: "Now that war is over, I am
as willing to risk my person and reputation as heretofore, to heal
the wounds made by the past war, and I think my feeling is shared by
the whole army. I also think a similar feeling actuates the mass of
your army, but there are some unthinking young men who have no sense
or experience, that unless controlled may embroil their neighbors.
If we are forced to deal with them, it must be with severity, but I
hope they will be managed by the people of the South." [Footnote:
_Ibid._] His Field Order No. 65, announcing the end of war east of
the Chattahoochee, referred to the same purpose "to relieve present
wants and to encourage the inhabitants to renew their peaceful
pursuits and to restore the relations of friendship among our
fellow-citizens and countrymen." He directed that "great care must
be taken that all the terms and stipulations on our part be
fulfilled with the most scrupulous fidelity, whilst those imposed on
our hitherto enemies be received in a spirit becoming a brave and
generous army." [Footnote: _Id._, p. 322]

A copy of this order was enclosed in Sherman's letter to Johnston,
and the latter replied in a similar noble tone. "The enlarged
patriotism manifested in these papers," he said, "reconciles me to
what I had previously regarded as the misfortune of my life--that of
having had you to encounter in the field. The enlightened and humane
policy you have adopted will certainly be successful. It is
fortunate for the people of North Carolina that your views are to be
carried out by one so capable of appreciating them. I hope you are
as well represented in the other departments of your command; if so,
an early and complete pacification in it may be expected.... The
disposition you express to heal the wounds made by the past war has
been evident to me in all our interviews. You are right in supposing
that similar feelings are entertained by the mass of this army. I am
sure that all the leading men in it will exert their influence for
that object." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p.
336.]

Down to this moment the progress of events had been full of
satisfaction to Sherman, and of gratification to his noble ambition.
If the implication contained in the order sending Grant in person to
his headquarters had pained him, Grant's perfect handling of the
situation had prevented the wound being deep, and Sherman was
pleased, on the whole, to be relieved of negotiations on all civil
questions. But the day after Grant had left him,--when he had issued
his admirable Order No. 65, and exchanged chivalrous sentiments with
Johnston,--when he had completed his work in his great campaign and,
leaving to Schofield the finishing of the administrative task in
North Carolina, was turning his face homeward full of anticipation
of rejoining family and friends, with his great career in a
retrospect which was altogether gratifying--at this culmination of
his glory as a soldier and his pride as a patriot, he received the
sorest blow and the deepest wound he ever knew.

The mail, on the 28th, brought a copy of the "New York Times,"
containing Mr. Stanton's now famous dispatch to General Dix dated
the 22d, sent for the purpose of general publication, in which he
made known the fact that Sherman had entered into a convention with
Johnston, that it was disapproved by the President, and that Sherman
was ordered to resume hostilities. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xlvii. pt. iii. p. 285.] Had the newspaper publication stopped here,
it would still have been a grave indiscretion, for the news of what
was done in Washington usually reached the enemy more promptly than
it came to our officers at the front, and the enterprising spies at
the capital would have thought their fortunes made by getting on the
22d orders which did not reach Sherman, in fact, till the 24th, with
official comments of which the general was ignorant till the 28th.

But this was the least of the faults of this curious document. It
said that Sherman had entered into "what is called a basis of
peace." No such name was given the paper, and the manner of
attributing it misled the public as to its character. It suppressed
the fact that the "Memorandum" was by its terms wholly without
binding effect if not approved by the President. Without saying so,
it persuasively led the reader to believe that Sherman had violated
instructions issued by Mr. Lincoln on March 3d, which in fact were
never published till it was done in this dispatch, and were wholly
unknown to the general, who believed he was acting in accordance
with President Lincoln's wishes given him orally at the end of
March. It spoke of orders sent by Sherman to Stoneman "to withdraw
from Salisbury and join him" as opening "the way for Davis to escape
to Mexico or Europe with his plunder, which is reported to be very
large." Only complete ignorance of the actual military situation
could account for so erroneous a statement. Davis was in the midst
of Johnston's whole army, most of which was halted by the truce at
Greensborough. Stoneman, on a brilliant cavalry raid, passed rapidly
from the North near Greensborough a week before, had struck
Salisbury on the 13th, and immediately marched northwest, on his
return to East Tennessee, whence he had started. He was at
Statesville, forty miles on his way, when Sherman and Johnston made
the armistice on the 18th, of which he did not hear a word till he
was over the mountains on the 23d. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xlvii. pt. i. pp. 334, 335.] Sherman first heard of Davis's
"plunder" from Grant on the 24th, and immediately asked the navy to
frustrate any efforts to take it out of the country. [Footnote:
_Ante_, p. 494.] Davis did not leave the protection of Johnston's
army till he knew that Stoneman was far away and his road was clear.
In fact, it was only when, after the rejection of the first
convention, Johnston had begun negotiations for the separate
surrender of his own forces, and further delay would have made him a
prisoner. As to the "plunder of the banks" thus published by the
Secretary, it turned out that officers of Carolina banks who had
taken their assets to Richmond for protection against the perils of
war, had taken advantage of the protection of Mr. Davis's escort to
carry them home when Richmond fell. As to the specie treasure,
rumored to be many millions, about forty thousand dollars was at
Greensborough paid to Johnston's soldiers at the rate of $1.17 to
each, and the remainder, except a small sum, seems to have been
distributed to the cavalry escort, about 3000 strong, which
protected Mr. Davis to the Savannah River and then dispersed; the
sum was thirty-five dollars per man, given as part of their arrears
of pay. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 801,
803, 820, 850; _Id._, vol. xlix. pt. i. pp. 548, 551, 552, 555;
Davis's Rise and Fall, vol. ii. pp. 691, 695; Johnston's Narrative,
p. 408; Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 373.] The statement in Mr.
Stanton's dispatch regarding this "plunder," copied from one
received from Halleck, which in turn was based on anonymous rumor,
was so couched as to give credit to the imputation that Sherman was
to be duped or bribed to allow Davis with his effects, "including
this gold plunder," to escape. Not only did the form of the
publication give this impression, but that it was in fact so
understood and treated is simple matter of history.

Even this was not all. There were appended to this nine enumerated
criticisms, most of which were baseless. The first declared that
both Sherman and Johnston knew the former had no power to do what
was done in the Memorandum. What was done in fact was to transmit to
the government, for its acceptance or rejection, Johnston's offer to
disband all the remaining armies of the Confederacy, wherever
situated, on the terms which were stated. The "Memorandum" itself
said that the generals lacked power "to fulfil these terms;" but
that they had power to make a truce till the government of the
United States considered the proposal, is too plain for serious
dispute. Yet Mr. Stanton's criticism implied that the arrangement
had not been merely proposed, but had been actually concluded, for
the strictures otherwise had no meaning.

The second said that "it was a practical acknowledgment of the rebel
government." On the other hand, Sherman had utterly refused to deal
with or acknowledge that government in any way. The effect of
ratification of the terms would have been its silent disappearance
without being named. If the argument were worth anything, it would
have been much more potent against the exchanges of prisoners which
had been carried on through commissioners of both governments. But
the next clause had the added bugbear that the arms when deposited
at the State capitals might be "used to conquer and subdue the loyal
States." This suppressed the fact that by the "Memorandum" the arms
were "to be reported to the chief of ordnance at Washington City
subject to the future action of the Congress of the United States."
The allowance of arms to local authorities to preserve order was a
necessity so self-evident that, in the face of this objection by Mr.
Stanton, General Schofield, in supplementary terms of the final
surrender, allowed Johnston's troops to retain part of the arms in
this way, and no whisper of further objection was made. [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 482.]

The third objection was that "it undertook to re-establish the rebel
State governments that had been overthrown." This was untrue in
fact. It proposed that the executive should recognize actually
existing governments _de facto_ in the States, for the purpose of
renouncing the Confederacy and acknowledging under oath their
allegiance to the United States. For the purpose of such submission,
it would seem clear that it would be an advantage to have it made by
Vance, and Magrath, and Brown, and the rest who had been the real
rebels, rather than by new men whose essential representative
character might be denied. The subsequent history of reconstruction
gives small support to the opinion that anything was gained which
might not have been got more effectively by dictating the civil
changes and terms of peace to these old State governments rather
than to such provisional makeshifts as were afterward used. But the
objection was, after all, not against Sherman, but against the dead
Lincoln under whose oral authority Sherman was acting, and who had
put the same in clearest written terms in his correspondence with
General Weitzel and Judge Campbell after Richmond was in our
possession. [Footnote: Dana to Stanton, April 5th: "Judge Campbell
and Mr. Meyer had an interview with the President here this morning
to consider how Virginia can be brought back to the Union. All they
ask is an amnesty and a military convention to cover appearances.
Slavery they admit to be defunct," etc. (_Id_., vol. xlvi. pt. iii.
p. 575.) Lincoln to Grant, April 6th, says he had put into Judge
Campbell's hands "an informal paper" repeating former propositions
and adding "that confiscations shall be remitted to the people of
any State which will now promptly and in good faith withdraw its
troops and other support from resistance to the government. Judge
Campbell thought it not impossible that the rebel legislature of
Virginia would do the latter if permitted, and accordingly I
addressed a private letter to General Weitzel with permission for
Judge Campbell to see it, telling him that if they attempt this, to
permit and protect them, unless they attempt something hostile to
the United States," etc. (_Id._, p. 593.) Lincoln to Weitzel, April
6th. (_Id._, p. 612.) Dana to Stanton, April 7th. (_Id._, p. 619.)
Dana to Stanton, April 8th, with enclosures of papers by Judge
Campbell giving the contents of Mr. Lincoln's written memorandum to
him. (_Id._, pp. 655-657.) When Mr. Lincoln got back to Washington,
Lee having surrendered with the Virginia troops and the rebel
legislature of Virginia not having assembled or acted, the President
withdrew his permission for them to meet, saying he had dealt with
them as men "having power de facto" to do what he wished but which
was already done. Lincoln to Weitzel, April 12th. (_Id._, p. 725.)]

The fourth criticism was that by the terms proposed the State
governments "would be enabled to re-establish slavery." Apart from
the admissions of leading men of the South, and the facts already
collated, [Footnote: _Ante_, pp. 481, 485.] Mr. Stanton, in saying
this, ignored the Proclamation of Emancipation, on which, in his
conversation with Judge Campbell, Mr. Lincoln had been entirely
willing to rest. The Southern jurist had recognized the solidity of
the legal ground "that if the proclamation of the President be valid
as law, it has already operated and vested rights." This the judge
had stated to his fellow-citizens as a fact in the situation not to
be ignored, and had repeated it in his letter of April 7th to
General Weitzel in a stronger form, if possible, saying, "The
acceptance of the Union involves acceptance of his proclamation, if
it be valid in law." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvi. pt.
iii. pp. 656, 657.] The condition of its legal validity was not an
insertion by Campbell--it was the expression of Mr. Lincoln himself,
conceding the authority of the courts to pass upon the question as
he had done in his amnesty proclamation. [Footnote: Gorham's
Stanton, vol. ii. p. 235.] Mr. Stanton had these things before him,
hardly a fortnight old, when he made his singular publication. They
add no little to the difficulty of determining the true motives of
his appeal to the public.

The fifth objection was the possibility of resulting liability for
the rebel debts, which could hardly have been seriously meant.

The sixth was that it put in dispute the loyal State governments and
the new State of West Virginia. As to the latter, the "Memorandum"
was based on Mr. Lincoln's action in Virginia, and assumed that
question to have been determined, so far as the executive was
concerned. The criticism, like some of the rest, was aimed at what
Mr. Lincoln had done, which was thus flogged over Sherman's
shoulders; for the latter was, as we have to reiterate, ignorant
that on Mr. Lincoln's return to Washington he had been induced to
cancel what he had done. From any point of view but that of a
momentary party advantage, it is hard to see the evil of submitting
contesting State governments to the decision of the Supreme Court.
Those of Louisiana and Arkansas were swept away very soon by
Congressional action, and they were the only ones intended to be
reached by the Sherman-Johnston "Memorandum."

The seventh declared that it "practically abolished the confiscation
laws and relieved the rebels of every degree, who had slaughtered
our people, from all pains and penalties for their crimes." Those
who had "slaughtered" were primarily the officers and soldiers of
the armies, and no fault was found with Grant's extension of amnesty
to them by the Appomattox terms. It was true, besides, that the
whole male population of the South, of military age, was part of the
army, and that even State officers were "furloughed" to enable them
to perform public duties of a civil nature. We have seen that
Sherman carefully limited immunity to the action of the executive,
that he meddled with no laws, and said that all the people were
still liable to what the judicial department of the government might
do. But he had also acknowledged, upon reflection, that clearer
definition would be desirable in this respect, and had asked
Johnston to be ready to act upon this. [Footnote: Official Records,
vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 266.] It is our privilege, moreover, judging
after the fact, to note how little Stanton's objection practically
meant, and how much better Sherman represented the deeper purpose of
the American people, since neither Mr. Davis nor any of his chief
counsellors suffered "the pains and penalties for their crimes."

The eighth criticism was that the "Memorandum" offered terms "that
had been deliberately, repeatedly, and solemnly rejected by
President Lincoln, and better terms than the rebels had ever asked
in their most prosperous condition." Mr. Stanton could hardly have
forgotten, when writing this, that they were in fact not only based
on what Sherman had learned of his policy from Mr. Lincoln himself,
as we have seen, but they were what President Lincoln had repeatedly
offered and the Confederates had repeatedly rejected, the last
rejection being after the Hampton Roads conference in the first days
of February. [Footnote: Nicolay and Hay's "Lincoln," vol. x. pp.
122, 123, 128]

Exactly what was meant by the ninth criticism it is hard to say. It
is said that the "Memorandum," if adopted, would "relieve the rebels
from the pressure of our victories" and leave them "in condition to
renew their efforts to overthrow the United States government and
subdue the loyal States whenever their strength was recruited and
any opportunity was offered." As it provided for the disarming and
disbanding of every Confederate company, left our victorious troops
free to garrison every State, and gave protection to individuals
only so long as they were obedient to the National government, we
must regard the apprehension of new efforts to subdue the loyal
States as fantastic and not serious.

It was inevitable that such a manifesto to the public should be
greatly exasperating to Sherman. Seeing also the manner in which it
was interpreted by the newspapers, he believed that it was purposely
so worded as to imply what it did not explicitly assert, and to hold
him up to the nation as one little better than a traitor. He was
very emphatic in saying that being overruled did not trouble him; it
was the public perversion of what he had done, attributing to his
"Memorandum" what the publication of its text would have
contradicted, which outraged his feelings. [Footnote: Official
Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 335, 345.] Grant frankly adhered
to his opinion that in the actual condition of affairs he could not
himself advise the ratification of the terms proposed; yet he saw
the injustice done Sherman, and condemned it. [Footnote: _Id_., pp.
410, 531.] Their relations continued as cordial as ever, and his
influence was potent in preventing further ill results from
following the quarrel.

The publication was followed by other acts of Mr. Stanton which
increased the irritation. On the 27th of April he informed Halleck,
Canby, and Thomas that "Sherman's proceedings" were disapproved, and
ordered them to direct their subordinates "to pay no attention to
any orders but your own or from General Grant." [Footnote: _Id_.,
vol. xlix. pt. ii. p. 484; vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 321.] This was a
day after Johnston had made his final surrender under the second
convention, and when Grant had been two days with Sherman. It led to
Halleck's ordering Meade to pay no attention to the truce, even
after the surrender of Johnston was signed, and might have caused
serious results if Grant had not been very prompt in giving
counter-orders to Halleck. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 312.] All the
department commanders naturally understood Stanton's language in
sending Grant to North Carolina, as superseding Sherman in command,
though in fact this was not done. They concluded that if any new
terms were made with Johnston the action would be in Grant's name,
and his signature would verify the truce. But as Grant did not do
this, and everything remained in Sherman's hands as before, the
actual surrender was ignored and credit refused, by order of the
Secretary of War, to the armistice declared while the paroles were
being issued. Stanton took no steps to correct this, and for two
weeks the strange muddle continued in the Southwest. This came to
such a pass that on May 8th Sherman inquired of Grant whether "the
Secretary of War's newspaper order" had taken Georgia out of his
command. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 434.]
Grant replied, "I know of no order which changes your command in any
particular," and, in his patient role of peacemaker, suggested that
the necessity of prompt communication when Sherman was not in
telegraphic communication with Washington had caused some
irregularities. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 445.]

One of the minor incidents in Stanton's course of action throws so
strong light on his methods and was so irritating an example of the
_suppressio veri_ that it must be mentioned. Immediately after his
interview with Sherman in the early morning of the 24th, Grant had
sent a dispatch to Stanton, which the latter sent to General Dix for
publication in the following form: "A dispatch has just been
received by this department from General Grant, dated Raleigh, 9 A.
M., April 24th. He says: 'I reached here this morning, and delivered
to General Sherman the reply to his negotiations with Johnston. Word
was immediately sent to Johnston, terminating the truce, and
information that civil matters could not be entertained in any
convention between army commanders.'" [Footnote: _Id_., p. 311.]
Taken in connection with the previous publication, this was
naturally interpreted to mean that Grant had sent the "word" to
Johnston, and it strengthened the current against Sherman. The
dispatch as sent by Grant was this: "I reached here this morning and
delivered to General Sherman the reply to his negotiations with
Johnston. _He was not surprised, but rather expected their
rejection_. Word was immediately sent to Johnston terminating the
truce, and information that civil matters could not be entertained
in any convention between army commanders. _General Sherman has been
guided in his negotiations with Johnston entirely by what he thought
was precedent authorized by the President. He had before him the
terms given by me to Lee's army and the call of the rebel
legislature of Virginia authorized by General Weitzel, as he
supposed with the sanction of the President and myself. At the time
of the agreement General Sherman did not know of the withdrawal of
authority for the meeting of that legislature. The moment he learned
through the papers that authority for the meeting had been
withdrawn, he communicated the fact to Johnston as having bearing on
the negotiations had_." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt.
iii. p. 293.] I have italicized the omitted parts to show how
absolutely essential they were to a true statement of Sherman's
attitude, and how grave was the offence against fair dealing to
suppress them after the appeal to the public had been made by the
first publication. The dispatch is also historically important as
proof of the ideal character of Grant's disinterestedness and frank
friendship for Sherman in this juncture.

Mr. Stanton's habit of impetuous action without reflection, upon
first impressions and imperfect knowledge, was notorious, as was his
constitutional inability to admit that he had been in the wrong.
Once aroused, he was a fierce combatant, using any weapon that came
to hand, inquiring only whether it would hurt his opponent. When
obliged to see that he had judged wrongly, his silence was the only
confession: he was seldom equal to a candid apology. If a tacit
retreat was accepted by the other party, he might endeavor to
compensate for the wrong in some other manner. [Footnote: On this
subject General E. D. Townsend, as adjutant-general, is a most
competent and conclusive witness. (Townsend's Anecdotes of the Civil
War, p. 137.) Two little matters occurring at nearly the same time
with the Sherman quarrel perfectly illustrate this characteristic in
Stanton. General Townsend was in charge of the funeral escort of
Lincoln's body, and in New York a photograph was taken of the
coffin, in state, in the City Hall, with the drapery of the alcove
formed of national flags and crape, with Admiral Davis and General
Townsend as guard of honor at head and foot. Stanton read of it in a
newspaper, and without further knowledge sent a violent and
undignified reprimand to Townsend, ordering him to relieve and send
back to Washington the officers on duty, and to seize and destroy
the plates. A telegraphic correspondence followed, bringing in the
photographers, Henry Ward Beecher, H. J. Raymond, and the military
officers, with the proof that there was nothing to find fault with,
but rather the desirable preservation of a memento of a memorable
scene. There was a retreat, but no apology by the Secretary.
(Official Records, vol. xlvi. pt. iii. pp. 952, 965, 966). The other
was the permission given the Episcopal clergy in Richmond to
continue Divine service in the churches if they omitted the prayer
for the Confederate President in their liturgy, that being treated
as a demonstration in favor of the insurgent government. General
Weitzel was in command, and Mr. Lincoln was in the city when the
question first arose whether, in addition to the above prohibition,
the clergy should be required to insert, affirmatively, a prayer for
the President of the United States. Weitzel supposed he was acting
in accordance with Mr. Lincoln's direction not to be sticklish in
little things, stopped at the prohibition, as was generally done by
commanders in the field, on the ground that to order a form to be
inserted in any liturgy where it did not exist, would be ridiculous
for a government based on total separation of church and state.
Stanton, hearing of it through Mr. C. A. Dana, informed Weitzel that
his action was "strongly condemned," and that he was "unwilling to
believe that a general officer of the United States, commanding in
Richmond, would consent to such an omission of respect to the
President." Weitzel asked whether the direction would apply to Roman
Catholics, Hebrews, and other churches having a prescribed liturgy,
and Stanton replied _ex cathedra_, in the affirmative, repeating his
reprimand. Weitzel now appealed to the President, and the absurd
controversy was stopped. Stanton seems to have acted at first in
ignorance that individual ministers had no power to insert a prayer
into the formal liturgy; but he could not yield when better
informed, and a temperate memorial of the local clergy stating the
canonical difficulty and their earnest intention to have the change
made with all speed possible, is in the Records, "disapproved by
order of the Secretary of War"! (_Id_., pp. 619, 677, 678, 684, 696,
711, 737). Perhaps the nearest historical parallel is Napoleon's
order to the Russian clergy to pray for him instead of the Czar in
1812. (Fezensac, Souvenirs Militaires, 4th ed., liv. 2, chap. i. p.
233.)]

Sherman was not the man to submit to what he considered and called
an outrage, and when made aware of it, he struck back with all his
force. He exposed and denounced the perversions of fact and
misstatements of what he had done, and demanded the publication of
the original "Memorandum" with his statement of its relations to Mr.
Lincoln's policy and wishes as stated by the dead President himself.
Grant advised him to omit some of the expressions of his official
report, but he refused and courted an official investigation, whilst
he clearly stated his duty and his purpose to obey without question
such orders as were given by competent authority. He was quite too
large a man to be made the victim of a manifest wrong, and when once
the case was fairly presented, the purity of his motives and the
reasonableness of his belief that he was acting under highest
authority were generally acknowledged, even by those who supported a
severer policy toward the Southern States. The President and nearly
all the members of the Cabinet assured him that the published
bulletins had been without their knowledge, and cordially strove to
soothe his wounded feelings. [Footnote: For the correspondence, see
Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 302, 334, 345, 371, 410,
476, 515, 547, 576, 581, 582, 586, 662; _Id_., pt. i. p. 40. See
also Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 375; Conduct of the War, vol.
vi. p. 3.] The genuineness of character, patriotism, and
subordination tempered by proper self-respect, which he exhibited,
did not diminish the public regard, but rather heightened it. As to
the debatable questions of policy involved in his first convention,
he proudly left them to the judgment of time.

The breach of friendship between Sherman and Halleck, which was also
caused by Mr. Stanton's bulletins, was especially to be regretted.
Their early close relations as young officers going "around the
Horn" to California have already been mentioned, as well as the warm
personal correspondence between them during the Atlanta campaign.
[Footnote: _Ante_, pp. 174-176.] He had been grateful also for
Halleck's friendly conduct toward him in his period of depression in
1861, and expressed it strongly in a long letter when Atlanta had
fallen and he had won his commission as major-general in the regular
army. "I confess I owe you all I now enjoy of fame," he said, "for I
had allowed myself in 1861 to sink into a perfect 'slough of
despond.'" Halleck's friendship and encouragement had put him in the
way of recovering from this. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xxxviii. pt. v. p. 791.] But now his faith in human nature was
rudely shocked by finding, apparently, this friendly hand joining in
the hardest blows at his fame and honor.

In the first of Stanton's bulletins concerning him, Sherman found
copied the dispatch from Halleck giving the rumor of Davis's great
"plunder," and the hope of the Confederate leaders to "make terms
with Sherman or some other commander," by which they would be
permitted to escape out of the country with this treasure.
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 286.] The sting of this
was in the apparent insinuation that Sherman might be bought. It
naturally roused him to explosive wrath. Had Mr. Stanton quoted the
final sentence of Halleck's dispatch, it would have shown that the
latter intended no such thing. It concluded, "Would it not be well
to put Sherman and all other commanding generals on their guard in
this respect?" [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlvi. pt. iii. p. 887.] The
apparent insinuation was in the Secretary's bulletin by the omission
of this sentence from the quoted dispatch. Had Sherman seen the
dispatch as Halleck wrote it, he would not have been angered by it.

But on the 28th there appeared in the New York papers another
dispatch of Halleck to Stanton, dated the 26th, and saying that his
subordinates were ordered "to pay no regard to any truce, or orders
of General Sherman suspending hostilities, on the ground that
Sherman's agreements could bind his own command and no other."
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 953.] This was upon receipt of a dispatch from
Beauregard stating "that a new arrangement had been made with
Sherman." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvi. pt. iii. p. 953.]
In the same dispatch Halleck suggested that orders be telegraphed
through General Thomas to General Wilson, at the head of a strong
cavalry column in Georgia, to mind no orders of Sherman, but, with
other commanders in the Gulf States, to "take measures to intercept
the rebel chiefs and their plunder," now estimated, rather
indefinitely, at "from six to thirteen millions."

The folly of such publications was egregious, and justified
Sherman's sarcasm that if anybody was conniving at Davis's escape,
it was the officer who gave them to the public. It was, however, the
direction to disregard his new truce, embracing Johnston's troops
alone and based on their actual surrender, that stirred anew his
indignation. He had made a short inspection tour down the coast
after starting his columns northward, and saw the dispatch in
newspapers he received at Morehead, May 4th, on his return there by
steamer from Savannah. In writing General Grant, he characterized
Halleck's action as an insult. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlvii. pt.
iii. p. 388.] Fortunately, he had met at Savannah an officer of
General Wilson's staff, Captain L. M. Hosea, who had made an
adventurous journey across half Georgia to open communications,
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 371.] and in sending a steamboat up to Augusta
with supplies for Wilson, he had hurried Captain Hosea back with
such full information as enabled Wilson to observe scrupulously the
final convention with Johnston whilst vigorously pushing his efforts
to capture Davis. These efforts were successful on the 10th.
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlix. pt. i. pp. 515, 526.]

Sherman's sense of military honor was violated and shocked by the
orders disregarding his truce, which were "cordially approved" by
the Secretary of War. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlvi. pt. iii. p. 967.]
Grant suggested that Halleck's action was so connected with Mr.
Stanton's orders that it might not seem so bad on fuller
information, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p.
410.] but Sherman's sense of injury was such that in passing
Richmond on the 8th he refused Halleck's offered hospitality, saying
that after the dispatch of the 26th of April friendly intercourse
was impossible. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 435.] Halleck's was the "soft
answer which turneth away wrath," and it is due to him to remember
it. "You have not had during this war, nor have you now, a warmer
friend and admirer than myself. If, in carrying out what I knew to
be the wishes of the War Department in regard to your armistice, I
used language which has given you offence, it was unintentional and
I deeply regret it. If fully aware of the circumstances under which
I acted, I am certain you would not attribute to me any improper
motive. It is my wish to continue to regard and receive you as a
personal friend. With this statement I leave the matter in your
hands." [Footnote: _Id_., p. 454.]

But what had occurred seemed to Sherman to be so ingeniously fitted
together as parts of a malignant plan, that he replied, "I cannot
consent to the renewal of a friendship I had prized so highly till I
can see deeper into the diabolical plot than I now do." [Footnote:
_Ibid_.] His words were all the bitter expression of a heart wounded
beyond endurance by wrongs which seemed too palpable and plain for
discussion or explanation. In the distribution of commands on the
peace establishment made soon afterward, Halleck went to the Pacific
coast and did not live long. It is to be feared that no opportunity
for a full understanding between him and Sherman occurred, though
the latter was as placable as he was impetuous; and when he found,
as he soon did, that his fame and reputation had not suffered
permanent injury, he ignored the past so far, at least, as to show
that he harbored no lasting enmity.

Yet Halleck was probably right in saying that he had done nothing
but what he deemed his duty, and with no unfriendly purpose toward
Sherman. His dispatch of the 26th of April was only one of a series,
and it was made to have a different effect, taken by itself, from
what it would have had if read in its connection with the others.
There is no reasonable doubt that Stanton's angry purpose had been
to humiliate Sherman by practically superseding him in command.
Halleck knew this and went to Richmond, where he assumed command on
the 22d, with full knowledge of the sentiment which then ruled the
War Department. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvi. pt. iii. p.
891.] In the afternoon of the same day, Grant, on his way to North
Carolina, telegraphed him that the truce would be ended as soon as
he could reach Raleigh, and ordered him to send Sheridan with the
cavalry toward Greensborough, sending also a corps of infantry along
as far as Danville. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 888.] This assumed that by
the time these troops could enter Sherman's theatre of operations
the truce would have been terminated; for Sheridan was then at
Petersburg, and the Sixth Corps at Burke's Station. [Footnote:
_Id_., p. 895.] The cavalry could not be ready to march before the
24th (at the earliest) and did not start in fact till the 25th or
26th. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 931, 947.] Neither it nor the infantry
got beyond Danville or entered North Carolina before they were
halted by Grant's order to Halleck of the 26th, received in the
morning of the 28th. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 954, 997.] No
interference with Sherman's truce, either the first or the second,
actually occurred. Halleck knew that the first truce would be ended
as soon as the two days' notice could expire after Grant reached
Raleigh, and long before his troops could come into contact with
Johnston's. But he was also moving them by Grant's order, and must
not only obey, but must assume that the first truce was no longer in
question. It was not necessary or proper for him to explain fully to
his subordinates all he knew of Grant's journey and purpose. For
their direction it was enough to say they were not to regard the
truce which had been made on the 18th and was currently spoken of as
"Sherman's truce." Had Sherman known of Grant's order to Halleck and
the assumed situation on which it was based, he would not have
regarded Halleck's language an insult. Without such knowledge it
looked very much like it.

Halleck, however, had to face the question how his subordinates must
act if, on coming near the enemy, Johnston should claim a new
armistice. He shared the War Department opinion that the negotiation
was not sincere on the part of the Confederates, but was a ruse to
gain time for Davis's escape with the imaginary "plunder." A
pretended armistice is an old and familiar stratagem in warfare. It
would seem that Halleck fully believed that Grant would assume
actual command, on reaching Sherman (as he had commanded when with
Meade during the past campaign), and concluded that any real
armistice again made would be in Grant's name. Any other would be a
sham or would have been made before Grant was present. Under such
circumstances he could not be blamed for telling his subordinates
that only Grant's authority or his own must bind them. He was
mistaken, in fact, for Grant's arrival was not even known to
Johnston, and Sherman concluded the final convention as if Grant had
still been in Washington. The curtness of telegrams often creates
ambiguities, and when Sherman saw in print Halleck's dispatch of the
26th separated from the rest of the series, he naturally gave to it
the meaning which hurt him so. Had he known the rest of the story,
he would have seen no treachery to old friendships. The sin was in
the unprecedented publications which embroiled everything. In truth,
Halleck's order to Meade was more guarded in form than the language
of his dispatch to Stanton, for Meade was only told to ignore "any
agreements made by General Sherman before the arrival of
Lieutenant-General Grant." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvi.
pt. iii. p. 941.]

A curious theoretic question was raised by Halleck's incidental
statement that an armistice by Sherman could only bind his own army.
Sherman said he must defend his truce at all hazards till it was
duly terminated. Each was right in a sense, but fortunately the laws
of war and military regulations would prevent practical difficulty
arising. If Sheridan had advanced to Greensborough, Sherman would
have met him there, and by virtue of his superior rank would have
assumed command and responsibility for the united forces. Besides
the orders and instructions from the President he already had, he
would have to act in view of any authentic instructions or
information which Sheridan might bring. On the other hand, if
Halleck had accompanied his own forces, his seniority would have
made Sherman his subordinate in the common field of operations; but
as commander, he would have to respect, at his own peril, all the
rights which Johnston had acquired under the principles of
international law. The situation had perplexities only so long as
the generals were playing at cross-purposes by reason of imperfect
knowledge. Their intelligence and character were such that duty
would have been plain to both as soon as they came together.

Stanton made no public explanation of his conduct, but in a
conversation with General Howard, he asserted that Sherman's order
to his troops announcing the armistice, by saying that when ratified
it would "make peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande," had put
the government on the defensive, and made it seem proper to publish
reasons for disapproving the terms. [Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlvii.
pt. iii. p. 476.] This does not touch the question of the wisdom or
folly of the matter published, or of its form. Sherman's reason for
mentioning the prospect of a general and speedy peace was that the
condition of his army under the news of Lincoln's assassination was
such that he felt it necessary to soothe his excited soldiery with
the hope of soon marching home in triumph, thus turning their
thoughts from the vengeance which would have been inevitable if
fighting were to be resumed. Instead of appreciating this, Mr.
Stanton seems to have jumped to the conclusion that it was an act of
vanity or of political ambition which was to be squelched _per fas
aut nefas_, and in his passionate and hasty action he compromised
the whole administration.

We who were Sherman's subordinates in the field knew so well his
integrity and patriotism that we sympathized strongly with his
indignation at the appeal to popular sentiment against him. Yet the
sense of duty to the country and to the government prevented
thoughtful men from being blind partisans of our chief. Without full
means of judging of the possible effect of the first convention, if
carried out, some of us were disposed to believe that there must
have been a mistake on his part, since we were not able to believe
that the Secretary of War would publish his "nine reasons" if they
had no solid support and were not approved by the President and
Cabinet. My personal opinion I wrote in my diary at the time, and I
reproduce it to show the contemporaneous sentiment of one who was
both a warm supporter of the government and a warm friend of the
general. What I have written above will also show how far further
investigation and fuller knowledge have modified my judgment.
"Friday, April 28th.... Some of the Northern papers are very bitter
on Sherman for the terms first offered by him, and it is manifest
from the dispatches sent by the Secretary of War to New York to be
published there, that the new administration is willing to give
Sherman a hard hit. He made a great mistake in offering to Johnston
the terms he did, but he has done the country such service that the
administration owed it to him to keep the thing from the public and
to come kindly to an understanding with him, instead of seeming to
seek the opportunity to pitch upon him as if it desired to humble
him. In conversation this morning he showed that he felt their
conduct very sorely, but I hope he will keep out of controversy with
them in regard to it. He complains with justice that they have
refused to give any instructions to guide military officers as to
the policy to be adopted, and then, when these are forced to act,
seem to take pleasure in repudiating what the officers have done,
and in humbling them or exposing them to popular odium."




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 battlefield at
Guilford-Old-Court-House.


On Thursday, the 27th of April, the same day on which Sherman issued
his order announcing the final agreement for the surrender of
Johnston's army and the homeward march of most of his own forces,
General Schofield issued his own order declaring "the duty of all to
cultivate friendly relations with the same zeal which has
characterized our conduct of the war, that the blessings of union,
peace and material prosperity may be speedily restored to the entire
country." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. 330.] He
invited all peaceably disposed persons to return to their homes and
resume their industrial pursuits. He promised also the loan of
captured horses, mules, and wagons to those who had been deprived of
their own by the armies, and food for the needy during the period
when all must be busy planting if the season were to be made of any
avail for agriculture. His order concluded with these words: "It
will be left to the judicial department of the government to punish
those political leaders who are responsible for secession,
rebellion, and civil war with all its horrors. Between the
Government of the United States and the people of North Carolina
there is peace." [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii.
p. 330.]

In a separate order of the same date, to remove all doubt as to the
end of slavery, he declared that "by virtue of the proclamation of
the President of the United States, dated January 1, 1863, all
persons in this State heretofore held as slaves are now free, and it
is the duty of the army to maintain the freedom of such persons."
[Footnote: _Id_., p. 331.] He recommended immediate fair contracts
of hiring and the resumption of profitable industry, so that
disorganization of labor might be avoided. He told the freedmen that
it was not well for them to congregate about towns or military
camps, and that they could not be supported in idleness. All classes
of people were thus put upon the footing Sherman had intended in his
first convention with Johnston, and Schofield's orders issued whilst
Sherman was still with us at Raleigh may be received as an
authoritative interpretation of the latter's views.

The Confederate troops were mostly concentrated about Greensborough
upon the railroad from Richmond through Danville and Charlotte to
Columbia in South Carolina, and the line of railroad we had followed
from Goldsborough to Raleigh continued westward to Greensborough.
Outposts, Confederate as well as National, remained at stations
between the two armies, but no collision had occurred since the
truce established on the 19th. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 250.] Mr. Davis
had remained at Charlotte in the interval between the two
conventions, but when the separate surrender of Johnston's army was
determined, he started southward with a vague purpose of joining
some of the smaller organized armies released from the armistice by
our administration's rejection of the terms of Sherman's first
convention. He tells us that he still hoped that he might cross the
Mississippi with such forces as could be concentrated, joining Kirby
Smith, who commanded there, and in the last resort carrying a body
of irreconcilables out of the country into Mexico. [Footnote: Davis,
Rise and Fall, vol. ii. pp. 694, 696.] A line of retreat southward
had been agreed upon in case Johnston should not surrender, and some
accumulations of supplies had been made at Chester, S. C., and other
points upon it. General Bragg had been placed in command there,
reporting directly to Davis or the Confederate War Department,
[Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 836.] and some
cavalry in West Virginia under General Echols had been ordered to
pass by mountain routes to the same region. [Footnote: _Id._, p.
795.] As soon as the truce was ended by the notice of the 24th,
Davis started southward by the route indicated, which kept well to
the westward of Columbia by way of Abbeville, aiming to cross the
Savannah River above Augusta at the pontoon bridge near the junction
of Broad River with the Savannah. [Footnote: _Id._, vol. xlix. pt.
i. p. 548.] His party disintegrated before he entered Georgia, and
he was nearly alone with his family when he was captured thirty or
forty miles southeast of Macon.

General Wade Hampton was one of those who preferred any alternative
rather than surrender, and had opposed even the terms of the first
convention to which Davis had assented. [Footnote: _Id._, vol.
xlvii. pt. iii. p. 813.] He promised that he would bring to Davis's
support "many strong arms and brave hearts,--men who will fight to
Texas, and who, if forced from that State, will seek refuge in
Mexico rather than in the Union." [Footnote: _Id._, p. 814.] On the
25th, when Johnston's surrender was already resolved upon,
Breckinridge sought to arrange that Hampton, with his cavalry, might
join Davis, [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p.
837.] but Sherman insisted on the capitulation of the army as a
unit, and Hampton was included. The latter had visited Davis during
the first armistice and obtained his permission to bring out the
cavalry before the surrender, but on his return to his command, on
April 26th, he found that the surrender had been made. Setting up
the claim that the arrangement made with Davis had detached his
troops from Johnston's army, although they were actually serving in
it, he notified Johnston that they and he would not regard
themselves as embraced in the capitulation, unless Breckinridge, the
Secretary of War, should say they were within it. [Footnote: _Id._,
p. 841.] He had given orders to Wheeler to move the command toward
South Carolina, and Butler's division was moving in the same
direction. [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 841,847.] Johnston, feeling that
his honor as a commander was involved, sent peremptory orders to
Hampton to march back to the position near Hillsborough which he had
abandoned. He gave Wheeler similar orders. [Footnote: _Id._, pp.
844, 846. See also Johnston to Sherman, _Id._, p. 336.] Breckinridge
gave Hampton the opinion that the troops were bound by the
capitulation, though Hampton himself might not be. [Footnote: _Id._,
p. 851.] The latter thereupon informed Butler and Wheeler that he
could give them no orders, and asked leave of Johnston to withdraw
his former letter, substituting one which only claimed personal
exemption from the surrender. [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 845, 847.] In
transmitting this, he sent a long letter of apology, explaining his
embarrassment. He asserted that in his consultation with Mr. Davis a
plan was agreed upon to enable the latter to leave the country. He
must now either leave him to his fate or go with him under the ban
of outlawry. He thought his personal duty was to go, but would leave
his command to abide the terms of the convention, or if any joined
him, he said, "they will be stragglers like myself." [Footnote:
Official Records, vol. xlvii. pt. iii. p. 846.] Enough "straggled"
to make up Davis's escort to about 3000 men, comprising six brigade
organizations; but Hampton seems to have thought better of the
determination to be an outlaw, and though he did not give his parole
with the rest of Johnston's command, he did not join Davis.
[Footnote: Davis, Rise and Fall, vol. ii. pp. 689, 690.] His
explicit statement of the aim of Davis's flight warrants us in
concluding that the dream of further military operations beyond the
Mississippi was never a serious purpose. After the disbanding of the
escort at the Savannah River, Breckinridge and Benjamin reached the
coast of Florida and escaped to Cuba. Mallory and Attorney-General
Davis seem to have reached their own homes; Reagan remained with his
chief, and was captured; [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 694, 695.] Bragg and
Wheeler were captured near Athens, in Georgia, using questionable
ruses to escape. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlix. pt. i. pp.
550, 551.] General Cooper, the adjutant and inspector-general of the
Confederate army, remained at Charlotte, and received the benefit of
Johnston's capitulation, while he did all in his power to preserve
the Confederate archives, which were there in railway cars.
[Footnote: _Id_., vol. xlvii. pt. iii. pp. 842, 848.] This
digression to follow the fate of Mr. Davis and the group of civil
and military notables who were with him in his southward flight,
will help us understand some of the peculiar incidents attending the
paroling of Johnston's army at Greensborough. I will now return to
events of which I was a witness.

On Sunday, the 30th April, the printed blanks for the paroles were
ready, and Brevet Brigadier-General Hartsuff, inspector-general on
Schofield's staff, was put in charge of the details of their issue.
He went up to Greensborough from Raleigh, accompanied by about a
dozen officers detailed from the department and corps staff. It had
been intended that he should take with him a guard of a regiment I
had selected for the purpose, but at Johnston's request the troops
were held back a few days. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xlvii.
pt. iii. pp. 349, 351, 483.] Schofield had arranged the general
scheme of subdividing the State into military districts, of which I
was to command the western, whilst Major-General Terry took the
central, and Brigadier-Generals Palmer and Hawley retained the coast
districts which they already had. In anticipation of the formal
order, [Footnote: _Id._, p. 396.] the detachment to guard the arms
and stores which should be received came from my command, and I
detailed the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio, a regiment which had won
high praise in the review at Raleigh for its splendid form and
discipline, and which was an orderly, reliable body of men in battle
as on parade. It was ordered to take along also its excellent brass
band and drum corps, for I meant to have the duties of a garrison
performed in the presence of the Confederates with all the honors.

Sherman had left Raleigh in the evening of Friday (28th), to make a
brief tour to Charleston and Savannah, by sea, nominally to inspect
that part of his command, but really to pass the time whilst the
body of his army was marching to Washington, and to avoid visiting
that city in the irritation he felt at his treatment by the
Secretary of War. [Footnote: _Id._, pp. 337, 338.] Johnston had
arranged, on the 1st of May, to send General Hardee down to Raleigh
for personal consultation with Schofield in regard to details of the
homeward march of his troops, but the satisfactory arrangement of
the supplementary terms made this unnecessary. [Footnote: _Id._, pp.
366, 857.] Schofield determined to go to Greensborough himself,
starting early on Tuesday morning (2d), and I was asked to accompany
him. [Footnote: _Id._, p. 376.] We left Raleigh by train at seven
o'clock, with the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio as a guard, and at
Durham were met by a dispatch from General Hartsuff, saying that the
whole Confederate army was "dissolving and raising the devil." I
telegraphed for another regiment to follow us, and we went on to
Hillsborough. There we met General Hardee, who joined our party, and
we went on to Greensborough. [Footnote: Official Records, vol.
xlvii. pt. iii. p. 376.]

As the train left Hillsborough, we passed through a body of
Confederate cavalry, and were within the enemy's lines. I confess it
was with a curious, half-uneasy sensation that I thus for the first
time found myself on the wrong side of the Confederate outposts
without having driven them in by a hostile advance. It was not easy
to orient one's self at once with the new condition of things, and
it would hardly have been a surprise to find that we had been
entrapped by a ruse.

This soon wore off, however, and Hardee made the journey a very
agreeable one to us. He had been commandant of cadets at West Point
just before the war, and had from the first an "inside" view of the
rebellion. His "Tactics," adapted to our army use from the French,
had been the authoritative guide of our army drill, and by that
means his name had been made very familiar to every officer and man
among us. His military career had been among the most distinguished,
and he had commanded a corps in front of us during the whole Atlanta
campaign. There was therefore no lack of subjects for conversation,
and the time ran rapidly away. Hardee was in person and bearing a
good type of the brilliant soldier and gentleman. Tall and well
formed, his uniform well fitting and almost dandyish, his manner
genial and easy, his conversation at once gay and intelligent, it
would be hard to find a more attractive companion, or one with whom
you would be put more quickly at ease.

Our mission naturally led us into a review of the war, and we asked
him what had been his own expectation as to the result, and when he
had himself recognized the hopelessness of the contest. "I confess,"
said he, laughing, "that I was one of the hot Southerners who shared
the notion that one man of the South could whip three Yankees; but
the first year of the war pretty effectually knocked that nonsense
out of us, and, to tell the truth, ever since that time we military
men have generally seen that it was only a question how long it
would take to wear our army out and destroy it. We have seen that
there was no real hope of success, except by some extraordinary
accident of fortune, and we have also seen that the politicians
would never give up till the army was gone. So we have fought with
the knowledge that we were to be sacrificed with the result we see
to-day, and none of us could tell who would live to see it. We have
continued to do our best, however, and have meant to fight as if we
were sure of success."

Amongst many other things, our talk turned upon the Atlanta
campaign, and he told some interesting facts in regard to Hood's
obstinate holding on at Atlanta when Sherman was executing the
movement around the place on the south