“Sherman’s Masterly Operation”

new york herald

November 11, 1864

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The New York Herald
Date: November 11, 1864
Title: ShermanMasterly Operation – The Last Division of the
ShermanMasterly Operation – The Last Division of the
Confederacy – The Decisive Blow.
Sherman has cut the Gordian Knot. His movement from
Atlanta toward the Atlantic coast line, already begun, if the
last news be true, is the most splendid operation of this great
war. He no longer wastes the energies of his army on the mere
mass of country in the cotton States – the inert material that
might be a great nation – but he strikes boldly at that part of
the country where the life of the rebellion lies – where there
is vitality – where the head and the heart are – where he may
hit consecutively Milledgeville, Augusta, Columbia, Charleston
and Wilmington. He answers grandly that very common question,
“How will Atlanta pay for its capture?”He shows that place to
be an immensely important one, in view of the effect with which
its possession enables him to deliver this blow; and he
furnishes a sketch in outline of the way in which the coup de
grace is to be given to the great rebellion. He has gained
such a victory over Davis, Hood and Beauregard as will make
them examples forever of military fatuity. Hood, Beauregard,
Cheatham, Cleburne, and the rest of the pigmies, are making
speeches in Alabama on their way to Tennessee. They are going
into that State to compel Sherman to evacuate Georgia. Their
solicitude is for Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina – which
States they desire above all things to keep free from our
armies; and, in their anxiety to drive Sherman from what he
has, they have exposed and laid completely open to him the
whole heart of their country. Such is the strategy of Jeff.
Davis, who told the people of Montgomery, with admirable
complacency, that he some faith in his capacity for arms.”
Sherman is continuing the advance begun by General Grant on
the Ohio river, and intended even then to cut in twain the part
of the confederacy on this side of the Mississippi river. The
first success in that advance was the capture of Forts Henry
and Donelson. The advance was continued thence to Nashville,
giving us secure possession of Kentucky and a good hold on
Tennessee. From Nashville it was carried forward by Rosecrans
to Chattanooga, flanking Bragg out of his strongholds at
Shelbyville and Tullahoma. At Chattanooga affairs were again
taken in hand by Grant, who annihilated near there the rebel
army that had bought Rosecrans to a bloody halt. From the
position gained by Grant the advance was carried on by Sherman
to Atlanta, and now the same great soldier has stated to carry
it to the Atlantic. It is his good fortune to have charge of
the part of this advance that will appear most effective in the
history of the war – that may even prove the real decisive
operation of the war – and which yet has in it less difficulty
and danger than there was in any part of the same advance
through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia to Atlanta. It is not
even probable that he will have to fight a battle; for through
the whole district that he is to traverse the rebels have no
force at Albemarle, and there is no able-bodied population. He
has to make a march of three hundred miles through a pleasant
country, that his army can live upon if necessary, and he
strikes and involves in a common capture the capitals of
Georgia and South Carolina and Charleston. He will hold,
therefore, those two States definitely and positively. And to
gain this what does he risk? Nothing. His immediate command
is not risked in the least, nor can it be supposed that he
risks the safety of Tennessee. Hood can do no harm. Hood,
Forrest, Taylor and all the Southwestern rebels together cannot
muster more than fifty thousand men, and Thomas is undoubtedly
able to defend the State from such a force.
Georgia and South Carolina, the capital and the principal
cities of those two States once firmly held by Sherman and what
is there left of the so-called confederacy? Not a single
State. Richmond and Wilmington will be all that will be left
of the great rebellion. How long will Wilmington, the only
seaport of the confederacy, remain in the hands of the rebels
with Sherman only one hundred and eighty miles from it and that
great squadron, that troubles the Richmond papers so much,
battering at its defences? Shermanmarch will also be
equally divert a large force to meet Sherman he will in two
months be hermetically sealed in his capital; and if he does
divert such force his capital will fall under Grant
persistent efforts. Looked at in any light, Shermanmovement
promises to be a most decisive one, and there is every
probability that it will be the decisive operation of the war.

 

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