“General Sherman Again on the War Path”

new york herald

November 15, 1864

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The New York Herald
Date: November 15, 1864
The Grand Campaign in the West.
GeneralShermanAgainontheWarPath. ShermanNew Model
In the fall of 1862 the rebel General Beauregard planned
the campaign of the invasion of Tennessee and Kentucky, which
General Bragg attempted to execute. Two years later, in the
present fall, 1864, he has planned a second invasion of the
same States, and has been intrusted with the execution of it.
It was under very different circumstances, however, and we are
now likely to have a reversion of the movements of the campaign
of 1862. Then the rebel army under Bragg outnumbered that of
General Buell. To-day Sherman has twice the numbers that
Beauregard commands. Then General Bragg flanked General Buell
and forced him back upon his base of supplies. Beauregard has
flanked Sherman, but has not yet forced him to retire. Bragg
and Beull [sic] were well matched. They were alike in
disposition – cool, calculating and sagacious. Beauregard and
Sherman, the opposing strategists in the present campaign, are
not unlike in character. Both are quick, nervous, energetic
and original. As the counterparts of Buell and Bragg in their
nature, these two warriors are now illustrating a campaign the
very opposite of that of 1862. They are about to give us a
campaign without a parallel. Sherman is going to indulge
himself in his favorite ,”and furnish example for
future strategists.”We give below – accompanied by a map
showing the field of anticipated operations – a brief sketch of
the movements of both armies up to the latest dates, showing
the preparations made for the exciting campaign, which, it
appears from the Richmond despatches, has already been
GeneralSherman occupied Atlanta in force on September 2,
He was hardly well located in the “Gate City”before he began
to plan his fall campaign. It was generally understood that
his intention was to move against Columbus, Ga., and open the
Chattahoochee river from that point to the Gulf of Mexico. The
occupation of this city and possession of this river would
practically sever the country west of the river from
communication with the eastern part of the confederacy. By the
river he could draw his supplies from the Gulf, and thus
establish a base from which to operate against Mobile or Macon.
The distance of Atlanta from the supply depots of his army
precluded the idea of depending upon it as a base, and, with a
view to further movements into the interior, a new base of
operations became indispensable.
When General Hood, about September 24, suddenly transferred
his army by a flank movement from Lovejoystation, onthe
Macon Railroad, to near Newnan, onthe West Point road, it was
supposed that Hood had divined the purpose of Sherman and was
preparing to oppose the execution of the plan. His first
movement attracted, therefore, but little attention. The
incautious language of Jeff. Davis at Macon first led the
country to suppose that the movement was preliminary to
something more extensive, and General Shermansuspicions also
were apparently aroused by it, for we find him about this time
sending his spare forces to the rear, under General Thomas, and
distributing strong detachments, under Newton, Corse and
Scholfield, at different points immediately in the rear of
Atlanta. He also ordered frequent reconnoissances of the enemy
in his position near Newnan. General Garrardcavalry
reported, on September 27, further movements of Hood towards
the Chattahoochee. On October 1 Generals Fuller and Ransom
made a reconnoissance towards Newnan and discovered that the
enemy had crossed the Chattahoochee river on September 29 and
30, and had concentrated in the vicinity of Powder Springs, Ga.
Onthe 3d of October GeneralSherman, with the bulk of his
army, moved in pursuit, vowing his intention to destroy Hood
before beginning his movement against Columbus.
Hood had the start fairly and struck the railroad north of
Kenesaw Mountain on October 4, Onthe 5th General S.G. French,
commanding the advance division of Stewartcorps, made an
assault upon Allatoona, defended by General Corse, and was
repulsed with heavy loss. GeneralSherman was at this time at
Kenesaw Mountain, from the summit of which he signalled to
General Corse, over the heads of Hoodmen to hold out until
he relieved him. He pressed Hoodrear so heavily that the
rebel, finding Corseposition too strong to be taken by
assault, moved around the gap and crossed the Etowah and
Oestonaula rivers, making his appearance, with the greater part
of his army, in front of Dalton on October 12. He immediately
invested it with Cheathamcorps, while Stewart and Lee were
engaged in tearing up the railroad and in obstructing Snake
Creek Gap. Colonel Johnston, of the Forty-fourth United States
colored infantry, surrendered Dalton on Hooddemand. After
obstructing Snake Creek Gap as much as possible, in order to
delay Sherman, who continued to press him, Hood moved west,
passing through the gap of Pigeon Mountain, and entered
Lafayette onthe 15th of October. He had now advanced as far
north as it was possible to do without fighting, and a battle
appeared to be imminent in the vicinity of the old battle field
of Chickamauga. But Hood, after holding the gaps of Pigeon
Mountain as long as possible, suddenly moved south from
Lafayette to Gadsden, Alabama, closely followed as far as
Gaylesville by GeneralSherman. This movement was looked upon
as a retreat and as the end of the great raid of which Hood,
Davis and Beauregard had promised and boasted so much. But it
soon became apparent that Hood was not yet at the end of his
rope, that the campaign was only about to begin in earnest. At
Gadsden Hood halted and intrenched his position, taking
possession of the Gap of Millcreek in Lookout Mountain, at
that point, and presenting a strong front to Sherman.
On October 23 Hood moved form Gadsden, through Lookout
Mountain toward GunterLanding and Decator, onthe Tennessee
river, near the last of which places he formed a junction with
General Dick Taylorarmy, which had meantime quietly moved up
the Mobile and Ohio Railroad to Corinth and thence to
Tuscumbia, the new base of supplies. He thus placed himself
far in General Shermanrear before that officer could take
steps to transfer his army to the new front of the rebels on
the Tennessee. Hoodadvance had probably reached the
Tennessee before GeneralSherman positively knew that he had
abandoned Gadsden. Undoubtedly it was much to his surprise
when, on October 25, he tried the gap and found it abandoned by
Hood. The position was certainly startling. He dared not
follow, thus abandoning his line or supplies to venture in a
mountainous country, through which a large army had just
passed. It was impossible to transfer his entire army to
Hoodfront in time to meet him and thus hold his
communications intact. The position demanded resolution and
action. He was but slow to resolve and act.
“Let him go North,”he exclaimed to his council
business is down South.”
He represented to his officers that the situation of
affairs justified him in considering his column an independent
one, without a foe to confront. Rousseau and Woodcorps,
with Morgandivision of the Fourteenth and Twenty-third
corps, entire, were in Tennessee, along the line of the
Tennessee river. They more than equalled Beauregardforces.
General Slocumcorps was in Atlanta, feebly besieged by
Iversoncavalry. He remained with the flower of his army -
with the corps that stood at Chickamauga with Thomas and the
corps of Grantold army that besieged Vicksburg and relieved
Chattanooga, lying in what Governor Brown calls the and
railroad centre of the South,”with only the Georgia militia -
the mere shadow of an army – to oppose him. He determined at
this important juncture to resume his original intention, and,
ignoring the very existence of Hood, carry out his offensive
campaign from Atlanta. He determined to follow Hood no longer,
but bade him “on his journey North.
“If he will go to the river,”he said, “I will give him his
rations,”but failed to intimate that he proposed to consider
them rations to prisoners.
The resolution was promptly formed and the preliminary
movements as rapidly executed. By November 1 the Army of the
Tennessee had left Rome and was en route to Atlanta. On
November 4 the five corps – the Fourteenth, Fifteenth,
Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Twentieth – had been concentrated at
the last named city, and rapid preparations were being made to
begin the march. Sherman felt in the highest spirits, and
telegraphed his intentions in these remarkable words;
Hood has crossed the Tennessee. Thomas will take care of
him and Nashville, while Schofield will not let him into
Chattanooga or Knoxville. Georgia and South Carolina are at my
mercy and I shall strike. Do not be anxious about me. I am
all right.
This is his adieu. The rebel papers already announce that
he has started on his march. Where is he going?
Never during thewar has the South been taken so completely
at a disadvantage and with the legs of such soldiers’as
Sherman has he can go anywhere he may desire. To the right
lies Montgomery, Mobile and Columbus. The two first are the
supply depots of Beauregard. The last is the great arsenal of
the South. Within a few hours’march is Andersonville, the
great rebel pen in which twenty-thousand of our men are
confined as prisoners and treated as dogs. Sherman is not
likely to pass it by. He wrote but a few days ago to the
President of the St. Louis Sanitary Commission – “I thank you
for the prompt fulfilment of the request to send certain
articles for our prisoners at Andersonville. Things have
changed since, and I may have to go in person to deliver these
articles to the prisoners.”It may be considered a fixed fact
that, whether Mobile, or Savannah, or Charleston be his
destination, GeneralSherman will take Andersonville in his
way. Savannah lies to the left, only fifteen days march.
Charleston is in the same direction, and not over twenty five
days distant. Let him go whichever route he may be can reach
the ocean or the Gulf without a battle.
In the meantime where are Beauregard, Hood and Taylor? The
latest official news which we have from the combined forces of
the enemy is from Nashville, under date of the 11th inst. The
army was at that time in the vicinity of Florence, Alabama,
where they had a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee river.
“But,”says the telegram, hesitate to cross.”Deserters
report that they are busily engaged in repairing the railroad
between Tuscumbia and Corinth.”Hood made his first effort to
cross the Tennessee at Bluewater creek, on November 8, and, on
being defeated by Rousseautroops, moved to Florence, where,
being met by the intelligence of Shermandaring movement from
Atlanta, he halts irresolute and to cross.”In his
front are Rousseau and Wood, each with a full corps, equal in
the aggregate to Beauregardarmy. Forrest onthe rebel left,
has met with some little success in blockading the Tennessee
river below Johnsonville and in destroying several transports
near that place, but is apparently unwilling to cross the
stream and place himself in the narrow peninsula between the
Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. In his front, and doubtless
bearing down upon him by this time, is the corps of General A.
J. Smith, which, relieved of the pursuit of Price, has been
sent to Paducah. Onthe extreme rebel right Breckinridge is
driven from BullGap by Gillem and foiled in his attempt to
reach Knoxville. Thus we now have in the immediate front of
the enemy at every threatened point a force equal to his own
and able to defeat him, while two hundred miles in his rear is
a great army of fifty thousand men, against whom the rebels can
muster no force adequate to oppose it. The strategy of Jeff.
Davis and Beauregard has simply resulted in furnishing us with
one more army than they have, and forced us to concentrate
while he scatters his armies in fruitless invasions of Missouri
and Tennessee. The result of this great mistake will very soon
be known us by the terror it will strike into the hearts of the
rebels at Richmond.

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