“The Gallup Through Georgia”

new york herald

December 22, 1864

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The New York Herald
Date: December 22, 1864
Title: SHERMAN
SHERMAN.
The Gallop Through Georgia.
THE GRAND MARCH THROUGH GEORGIA.
FORT McALLISTER, OGEECHEE RIVER,
Dec. 1, 1864.
The winter campaign of Sherman, which for the past two
weeks has caused so much anxiety in the minds of the loyal
people of the nation, and spread alarm throughout the
confederacy, from Richmond to Arkansas, may now be considered
ended for the present. To the casual observer its importance
in a military point of view may not be at first apparent; but a
careful study of the route traversed, and the situation
previous to its inauguration, will exhibit the fact that
Shermanmonth of raiding in the confederacy has produced
results even greater than that which followed the fall of
Atlanta. I propose, briefly, to inform the reader of
THE GENERAL SITUATION.
Previous to the commencement of this bold and audacious
movement through the enemycountry, going as far back as the
commencement of the spring campaign, I will review the
situation and record what seems to me to have influenced the
recent movements of Sherman.
On assuming command of the Military Division of the
Mississippi, Sherman found Johnston in force at Dalton, and
Longstreet wintering in East Tennessee, confronted by
Schofield. Before the campaigning season arrived Longstreet
withdrew, leaving but one large army (Johnston) in the
Southwest to be assailed. Military men all agree that the East
Tennessee route to Virginia is the most feasible mode of
investing Richmond, by the capture of Lynchburg, the key to the
whole military position in the East and I believe that
Shermankeen sagacity pointed that way. But he had no
alternative. With an army of only a hundred thousand he could
not hold his long line of supplies from Louisville and protect
middle Tennessee from invasion while operating from Knoxville,
consequently he was forced to follow Johnston into Georgia
further and further from his base, until Atlanta fell into our
hands, and Sherman found that Hoodarmy was still formidable
for mischief. With Atlanta we severed the railway
communications for a time, but the branch roads around
Milledgeville and Macon still enabled the enemy to draw
supplies from Florida, Southern Georgia, Alabama and
Mississippi, for the subsistence of their armies, while it gave
us one hundred and forty miles more of railway to guard against
raids upon our flanks and guerilla depredations in the rear.
The further pursuit of Hood, consequently, seemed frought
with danger and perplexity, and Sherman seems to have studied
well the problem how to shorten his line of supplies, and at
the same time hold Chattanooga, the key to Tennessee. The
campaign of the summer had ended, Hoodarmy being not less
than thirty thousand, while the draft had very largely swelled
Shermanranks. It was then that the great genius of the man
solved the question; and this campaign was created and worked
out upon the map. The moment he could draw Hood away from his
front, beyond the reach of railway communication with the rebel
base of supplies, Sherman saw that by dividing his large army
he could with the one wing keep Hood employed and by bold and
rapid movements strike the coast and open up a new line of
supplies, via some of the large rivers, from which he could
operate against the interior of Georgia, Alabama and the
Carolinas.
I have the best authority for saying that the subsequent
advance to the coast was of Shermanown conception, submitted
and explained by him to General Grant and the War Department,
and by them heartily approved.
With the subsequent movement of Hood to Shermanrear, the
cutting of his communications, the apparent tardiness of
Sherman in pursuit, and the escape of Hood into Northern
Alabama, the reader is familiar, and at the time, no doubt,
felt like censuring Sherman for not showing more determination
and energy against inferior numbers. But they must now see
that this was a part of Shermanwell matured plan.
While Hood was boldly pushing away from his base Sherman
was gathering all his strength for a desperate blow that was
destined to break the outer shell of the rebellion and expose
its vitals.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE MARCH.
Sending the Fourth and Twenty-third corps to Thomas as
nucleus for a new command, a new army was organized under that
well tried general, and then Sherman bade the North good bye,
destroyed the railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga, refitted
his army at Atlanta and cut loose – destination, the coast;
object, a new base.
Loading his wagons with sixteen days rations for a march of
over three hundred miles through an enemycountry, he first
divides his command into four columns, marches via the Augusta
and Atlanta Railway, destroys it in his march as well as the
road to Macon. While his right wing threatens Macon the left
occupies the capital of the State and lays waste the railways,
cotton mills, foundries and machine shops. In his march he
subsists his armies upon the fat of the land, branches off,
threatens Augusta, cuts the railway communication with
Savannah; then rapidly turns south, crosses the Ogeechee river,
and concentrating his command covers his flanks with the two
streams and moves direct upon Savannah and the coast,
completely destroying the railways of Georgia, leaving not
enough subsistence behind him to winter a kid, invests
Savannah, and in thirty days from the time he cut loose, opens
up a new line of supplies with his base only ten miles from his
army.
And all this marching of over three hundred and fifty miles
through an enemycountry is performed without the loss of a
wagon or mule, a gun or a pound of ammunition.
The intelligent reader will now see the importance of this
campaign in a military point of view. With Georgia stripped of
all its summer crops, the railways all destroyed, Hoodarmy
cannot subsist upon or occupy it until the return of another
crop, and with Thomas confronting him he cannot hurry to the
relief of Savannah and Charleston, which are now tottering to
their downfall.
With a large army under Sherman and a grand navy under the
gallant sea dog Dahlgren threatening them, their possession by
us is only a question of a few weeks.
But it has had another important effect upon our common
enemy. Heretofore Lee had drawn a large amount of subsistence
from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. This
raid of Shermanhas not only cut every line of communication
with the Southwest, but blotted out the machine shops and iron
works that furnished the material for repairing these railway
arteries and veins. Hence for the future Lee must depend
entirely upon the Carolinas and Virginia for subsistence for
his army. He may endeavor to invade East Tennessee and obtain
supplies from that quarter, but the withdrawal of any
considerable force for that purpose would endanger Richmond and
open the gates to Grant.
Taken as a whole, I am forced to the conclusion that this
campaign of Shermanown creation and execution is one of the
most fruitful the war has produced. It is a blow from which
Davis and his satellites will never recover; the effects of
which will be felt from one end of the country to the other.
But there is still another effect it will have. It
demonstrates to European Powers the weakness of the rebels and
the power of the national government to cope with armed treason
and rebellion.
But to the detailed narrative, which opens with
THE CONCENTRATION OF THE ARMY.
On the 11th the army was located as follows: The Twentieth
corps at Atlanta, the Fifteenth and Seventeenth corps at Powder
Spring road, on the Chattahoochee river, and the Fourteenth
corps at Kingston, Ga. Shermanheadquarters were at the
latter place.
On the morning of the 12th the army commenced concentrating
around Atlanta. The Fourteenth corps, Brevet Major General
Davis commanding, remained at Kingston to cover the shipment
north of the government property and rolling stock of the
railway, and at noon of that day the Third brigade of the First
division, Colonel H. A. Hambright, Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania,
commanding, who, by the way, was the first commandant at
Kingston, moved out, and the place was evacuated.
Notwithstanding that the Colonel took every precaution to
prevent a wanton destruction of the place, the negroes, who
brought up the rear, fired several buildings, which were
consumed. The corps reached the Chattahoochee river, and on
the 15th Atlanta.
CHATTANOOGA RAILWAY DESTROYED.
The railway was torn up from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and
all the bridges laid in ashes, as well as every building that
could be of benefit to the enemy. The straggling negroes and
cavalry destroyed quite a number of uninhabited houses, and, I
regret to say, three or four churches.
On the 14th and 15th, the Fifteenth and Seventeenth corps,
under General Howard, marched to a camp one mile south of
Atlanta, to which point Slocum, commanding the left wing, moved
on the morning of the 15th, leaving the city entirely empty,
except a few citizens, who remained scattered over the city,
preferring to dwell in the city until the return to its ruins
of their disloyal friends than to accept of free transportation
to the land of “Yankee mudsills”and “Puritanical
abolitionists.”The afternoon was spent in emptying the
storehouses of clothing, commissary supplies, &c., and their
transfer to the persons of the troops of the Fourteenth corps.
During the entire day Atlanta presented a very busy
appearance, every street of importance being blockaded by wagon
trains and mounted officers and men. Quite a number of houses
were fired during the day, and regular detailed parties from
the Twentieth corps destroyed all the public buildings of value
to the enemy.
GENERAL SHERMAN’S ORDERS TO HIS TROOPS.
After the men had bivouacked for the night the following
orders, issued by General Sherman, were read to the troops, and
were greeted with many manifestations of approbation by the
veterans, who, in so many bloody battles, have followed the
lead of Sherman:
SHERMAN’S ORDERS.
Special Field Orders – No. 119.
HEADQUARTERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF MISSISSIPPI,
IN THE FIELD, KINGSTON, Ga., Nov. 8, 1864.
The General commanding deems it proper at this time to
inform the officers and men of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth,
Seventeenth and Twentieth corps, that he has organized them
into an army for a special purpose, well known to the War
Department and to General Grant. It is sufficient for you to
know that it involves a departure from our present base, and a
long and difficult march to a new one. All the chances of war
have been considered and provided for as far as human sagacity
can. All he asks of you is to maintain that discipline,
patience and courage which have characterized you in the past,
and he hopes, through you, to strike a blow at our enemy that
will have a material effect in producing what we all so much
desire – his complete overthrow. Of all things the most
important is, that the men, during marches and in camp, keep
their places and not scatter about as stragglers or foragers,
to be picked up by hostile people in detail.
It is also of the utmost importance that our wagons should
not be loaded with anything but provisions and ammunition. All
surplus servants, non-combatants and refugees should now go to
the rear, and none should be encouraged to encumber us on the
march. At some future time we will be enabled to provide for
the poor whites and blacks who seek to escape the bondage under
which they are now suffering.
With these few simple cautions in your minds, he hopes to
lead you to achievements equal in importance to those of the
past. By order of
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
L. M. DAYTON, Aid de camp.
MILITARY DIVISION, MISSISSIPPI
IN THE FIELD, KINGSTON, GA., Nov. 9, 1864.
Special Field Orders – No. 120.
I. For the purpose of military operations this army is
divided into two wings, viz:
The right wing, Major General O. O. Howard commanding -
the Fifteenth and Seventeenth corps.
The left wing, Major General H. W. Slocum commanding – the
Fourteenth and Twentieth corps.
II. The habitual order of march will be whenever
practicable, by four roads as near parallel as possible and
converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The
cavalry, Brigadier General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive
special orders from the Commander in Chief.
Paragraph III relates to the position in the line of the
ambulances and wagons.
IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during
the march. To this end each brigade commander will organize a
good and efficient foraging party, under command of one or more
discreet officers, who will gather near the route travelled
corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn
meal, or whatever is needed by the command; aiming at all times
to keep in the wagons at least ten days’provisions for the
command and three days’forage. Soldiers must not enter the
dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but
during a halt or in a camp they may be permitted to gather
turnips, potatoes and other vegetables, and to drive in stock
in sight of their camp. To regular foraging parties must be
entrusted the gathering of provisions and forage at any
distance from the road travelled.
V. To army corps commanders alone is entrusted the power
to destroy mills, houses, cotton gins, &c., and for them this
general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods
where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property
should be permitted; but should guerillas or bushwhackers
molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges,
obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then
army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or
less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.
VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the
inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely
and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich,
who are generally hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually
neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or
horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to
serve as pack mules for the regiments or brigades. In all
foraging, of whatever kind, the parties will refrain from
abusive or threatening language, and may, when the officers in
command think proper, give certificates of the fact, but no
receipts, and they will endeavor to leave each family a
reasonable portion for their maintenance.
By order of Major General W. T. SHERMAN.
L. M. DAYTON, A. D. C.
ATLANTA ON FIRE.
“Now negress night came solemn down”upon the city, and as
the flames spread from the public buildings and the depot that
had been fired the whole heavens became illuminated by the
lurid glare, while the unexploded shells in the dwellings and
storehouses became heated, and as they exploded in rapid
succession one almost imagined that the scenes of August last,
when one hundred thousand heroes confronted the rebel
stronghold, were being re- enacted.
Standing upon an eminence overlooking the doomed city, I
had an excellent view of the conflagration, and never had I
beheld so grand a sight. As night waned the gentle breezes
carried the destroying element from house to house, and block
to block, until one-half of the rebel city was in flames, the
glare of which was so bright that the soldiers a mile distant
read their last letters from home by the light. Next morning I
rode over the city among the ruins, where nothing remained to
tell the tale but tottering walls and blackened chimneys, that,
like gravestones, stood there as monuments of departed glory.
ON THE WAR TRACK AGAIN.
On the morning of the 16th, at daylight, the whole army
once more took up the line of march – the Seventeenth corps on
the McDonough road, the Fourteenth on the Augusta road (running
parallel with the railroad), with the Twentieth on the left and
the Fifteenth on the right flanks. I accompanied the column of
the Fourteenth corps, which passed out through Decatur, and the
same evening encamped in Lithonia – a small town twenty miles
southeast of Atlanta – without encountering any enemy.
On the 17th the march was resumed at daylight, through a
country teeming in stock, vegetables and grain, that were found
in abundance on all the large plantations that lined the route.
This part of the State gives evidence of wealth and prosperity,
and as we moved further into the interior the works of war
ravages became less frequent.
THE COUNTRY
is quite open, well watered, good roads and delightful climate.
About half past nine oin the morning,
CONYERS,
a town of about five hundred inhabitants, was reached, but no
halt was made, and the troops continued the march without
interrupting the citizens, who flocked in large numbers to the
doors and windows to see the long expected and much feared
Yankees, and listen to the music of a score of bands that gave
forth their martial strains. Only one man was seen in the
town. All the others had ,”as the ebony children
classically expressed themselves. A rebel lieutenant, named
Lewis A. Middleton, who acted as provost marshal at that place,
left very hurriedly forgetting to call at the post office for
several letters, which were taken possession of by an aid de
camp, and turned over to General Sherman for examination. The
letters disclosed the fact that the Georgia militia accompanied
Hood as far as Gadsden, Ala., when Governor Brown ordered them
back to the State, where they arrived on the 6th, after a march
of nearly five hundred miles.
One of the letters is worth producing here:
A REBEL LETTER.
MONTGOMERY, August 13, 1864.
MY DEAR BROTHER – I have deferred writing to you for the
past two weeks, daily hoping to get a few lines from you to
tell us where you are and how you fared during and after the
Yankee raid – but in vain; so Iventure to write, even
though my letter never reaches you. In fact I scarcely know
where or how to direct this. Mary is down at Greenville on a
visit to Miss King, where she has been over two weeks. She
went for her health, which had been very bad all the spring and
summer. She writes me that she has improved and is enjoying
herself very much; but no wonder, for she says she gets so well
fed; that no one at Greenville seems to feel the war, but live
in full and plenty, as they did before, though Margaret King
always did live well; but she has plenty of money and nothing
to do with it but support herself.
We had a terrible alarm the night the raiders were expected
in Montgomery. This is the most excitable family the world
ever produced, from the Judge down to the smallest negro child
in the lot. Words of mine would fail to give you an idea of
the time we had. Sufficient to say that the Judge snatched up
his papers and money, flew down to the cars to take care of his
own precious self, leaving orders that we all should follow at
the first alarm bell, &c. Such a scene of confusion I never
saw, and, without stopping to reflect, I jumped out of bed and
commenced gathering together my clothes, for I was determined
to try and save them, as I never expected to get any more, and
where to get trunks or boxes to pack in I knew not. So I was
up the whole night long flying here and there, half dressed,
and six ocame in the morning before I even sat down. Of
course my servants were of no use whatever, and the Judge,
whom he thinks paragons, were in open rebellion. What
influence they would have had on Polly when the time came to
leave I cannot tell. Fortunately they were not tried, as the
vandals did not get here; but when the excitement was over, and
I had time to reflect, I thought how foolish it was in me to
worry about running away any more, especially with Judge
Jordan; for, in any great danger, he is a broken reed to lean
upon – self is No. 1, and I have resolved hereafter to just
stay where I am, and only regret that I was induced by the
entreaties of the Judge to leave my all in Pensacola, not that
I would have taken the Yankee oath. Selfish motives were at
the bottom with the Judge. I hope I may do him injustice. The
day after the alarm I was taken with a violent, nervous pain in
my head, which seemed to get worse daily for about ten days,
until I suppose the climax came, and then such excruciating
pains run down the back of my head and neck that I was
senseless for some time. A powerful remedy was administered -
opiates and quiet – and in a few days I was myself again. In
any great alarm, or excitement or rumor, I seem composed and do
all that I can; but afterwards the reaction comes and
prostrates me. But after this I think I shall have to stand my
ground and take the Yanks as I find them. Now, I have reserved
the bonne bouche for the last. On Monday, greatly to my
surprise, a letter came from the post office directed to Mary.
It was so like your handwriting, though from Wilmington post
office, that I was sure it was from you, and, while breaking
the seal, wondered how you came to be there. Just think! It
was a blockade letter from dear Peyton, written ever since the
20th of January – only seven months since. He had just arrived
at Panama and found in the post office there two letters from
Mary and one from you, dated, I think he said, 22d of July. It
seems he has been in New York for the last two years. His
health had been wretched, and after seeking and travelling
about to various places in search of a climate to suit him,
found that New York was the only place. His intention was to
come into Dixie, but could not succeed; and after the fall of
Vicksburg had to give up. Some of his good friends tried hard
to get him in Fort Lafayette, but failed. His pecuniary
matters are as usual; but it takes all he can raise to pay
travelling expenses. He expected to meet his agent at Panama;
but as he was not there he should go to Nicaragua; from thence
to California, or perhaps accompany his agent to Europe; but
would write and let us know; that we must write to him direct
our letters as we used to, to his agent in New York, and he
would forward them to him, no matter in what part of the world
he was. I have lost and forgotten his direction. I know it
was a Mr. Sidell, Wall street; but what were the initials of
the Christian name or the number of Mr. Sidellhouse I have
forgotten. Do you remember? If so, write and let me know,
though if I write I donsee how we can get a letter to him;
and as so much time has passed he may be dead. Write as soon
as you can. The servants say, “Give their love to Massa
Lewis.”Goodby. May God bless and take care of you is ever
the prayer of your affectionate sister.
Iadopt Peytonplan and not sign my name, in case it
should fall into other hands. Love to Mary when you write.
The afternoon of the 17th was spent in destroying the
Atlanta and Augusta Railway from Conyers to Yellow river, where
Davis’column halted for the night, and Colonel Buell, of the
Pioneer corps, threw down pontoons upon which the army crossed
on the following morning.
THE REBELS APPEAR IN OUR FRONT.
Today the First brigade, First division, Colonel Hobart
commanding, had the advance, with Major Fox, of the
Twenty-first Michigan, in command of the advance guard. While
riding in advance of his command, he was suddenly confronted by
a rebel cavalryman, who demanded his surrender. The Major was
unarmed and on the point of surrendering when his regiment
appeared in sight, and the rebel and his companions, who had
come up, retreated without taking the Major.
AN ADVANCE BY THE LADIES.
On the 18th the army moved at half past six, the First
division in the advance, and the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania,
Lieutenant Colonel Miles, the advanced guard. The first place
of importance encountered was the beautiful little town of
COVINGTON,
noted, as geographers say, for its water power and pretty
women. As Hambrightbrigade entered the town the Lancaster
(Penn.) band struck up “DixieLand,”when two hundred women
rushed to the piazzas and doors to view the Yankee invaders of
whom they had so often read. Every window and door swarmed
with blooming war widows, stately matrons and shy virgins in
homespun and coarse linen. But when the band had finished
“Dixie”and broke off on “Yankee Doodle,”oh, what a retreat.
The piazzas were cleared of their beautiful inhabitants,
windows came down with a slam and doors closed very abruptly,
until not a fair face was visible. The troops as they moved at
the right shoulder shift, the State and national colors
floating in the silken Southern breeze, and the nicely paved
streets resounding to the tread of the soldiers of the Union,
presented an imposing appearance, not soon to be obliterated
from the memories of the rebellious sympathizers with Davis and
the Devil. The column encamped at eleven oA.M. near
Allachovie river, distant ten miles north of Social Circle, and
halted for the day.
FORAGING PARTIES
were sent out in the afternoon, and at night returned to camp
with a large amount of fine stock, grain and vegetables.
THE RIGHT WING.
Tonight (18th) Howard(right) wing is encamped at
Jackson, and has met no enemy. Slocum, on the left, is
parallel with Howard, and has had no fighting.
SHERMAN’S HEADQUARTERS.
General Sherman makes his headquarters with Thomas’veteran
corps, now commanded by Brigadier General Jeff C. Davis.
SHERMAN TASTES SORGHUM.
Many little incidents occur daily that go to show a leader
like Sherman can make himself familiar with his soldiers, and
still retain their confidence and maintain thorough discipline.
A colonel commanding a regiment, who witnessed it, informs me
that today a number of soldiers who were filling their canteens
from a molasses barrel, near Shermanheadquarters, were
quarreling over the division of the syrup, when Sherman passing
by cooly crowded in among them, and dipping his finger in it
put it to his lips, remarking, “Doncrowd, boys, there is
enough for all.”
A PLANTATION SCENE.
About six miles south of Covington we struck the plantation
of Judge Harris, who is a Massachusetts man and own over two
hundred negroes. The plantation is one of the most extensive
in Central Georgia for the production of cotton and serials of
all descriptions. As the column moved past the Third brigade
First division band struck up a quick step, when from the
village of negro huts the dusky sons of Ham swarmed forth in
large numbers and rushed to the fences. A rich scene followed.
The negroes – men, women and children – struck off into a
dance, swinging themselves round and twisting themselves into
grotesque shapes that called forth peals of laughter from the
soldiery, while shouts of “Glory be to de Lord, de Lincomhab
come!”Wonwe go long wid yous!”"Ize off to glory!”
“Bress de Lord!”were heard on all sides. They followed the
troops for half a mile, making the air resound with their
exclamations of gladness, until driven back to the rear.
ANOTHER REBEL ATTACK.
On the 19th the column moved at daylight, Morgandivision
leading, Baird next and Carlin covering the rear. The column
took the Sandtown road, and when out about three miles, were
fired upon by a few rebel scouts, who retreated.
WET WEATHER AND BAD ROADS.
Up to this time we had beautiful weather, but at
daylight the roads were found almost impassable from the rain
that had fallen in torrents during the night. Nevertheless,
nine miles were made through a pouring rain, and we encamped at
eight oin the evening three miles south of Sandtown.
On the 20th the command moved at the usual hour, rain still
falling, and the roads in a horrible condition. About noon we
arrived at Shady Dale, the plantation of an old man named
Matthew Whitfield, who owns nearly the whole of Putnam county,
and an abundance of stock and crops. There we found
ANOTHER VILLAGE OF NEGROES,
who worked the large plantation upon which Mr. Whitfield
resided, and where another scene similar to that enacted at
Harris’greeted the men. About twenty-five women followed the
column a mile, and were driven back by the staff officers.
Nearly all the male negroes went with the army voluntarily. At
night the command encamped near Eatonton, and on the morning of
the 21st resumed their march, making
MURDER CREEK
before night closed in upon them and rendered marching over
muddy roads and swollen rivers too dangerous to be attempted.
The country through which we passed was the garden of Georgia,
the plantations furnishing an abundance of everything necessary
for the subsistence of man and beast, which was very generally
appropriated by the foraging parties, who obtained so much
potatoes and meat that the commissary wagons were not called
upon to disgorge a portion of their hard tack and bacon.
THE ARMY TRAMS
had become thoroughly rejuvinated by the acquisition of
hundreds of fine mules captured from the wealthy nabobs who had
hidden them in the woods, where they were found by the aid of
the negroes. Some of the finest horses I have seen in the
South, were also impressed into the United States service.
HOWELL COBB’S “NAG”GOBBLED.
Among the blooded stock captured was General Howell Cobb
celebrated pacing mare, that cost $25,000. She was found in a
swamp near Milledgeville, by private Walter Burns, Company E,
Twenty-first Ohio, who, ten or twelve days after, was captured
while riding her and murdered. He was acting as orderly, and
when his companions dug open his grave they found that the
enemy had cut his throat after shooting him through the head.
THE APPROACH TO MILLEDGEVILLE.
The rain cleared off on the 20th, and the cold north winds
came down like good spirits to aid the onward march of the
victors by drying up the roads and relieving the faithful
friend of the soldier – the mule. The bracing wind and warm
sun were balm to the toiling veterans, whose clothes for four
days had been drenched with Georgia rains and mud, and as they
were near Milledgeville – the capital of the State – where was
passed the ordinance of secession, increased speed was plainly
discernable in the movement of the men.
At twelve onoon, Davis’advance, composed of Baird
division, encamped in the city, and by dark the woods and
shrubbery around the city were illuminated by the camp fires of
Shermangrand army of .”
But let me here dwell a moment upon the
OPERATIONS OF THE TWENTIETH CORPS,
which formed the left, and moved from Atlanta on a road
parallel with Davis’route, through Decatur, Madison, Eatonton,
&c. General Williams, of Michigan, commanded the corps;
Jackson, the First; Geary, of Pennsylvania, the Second; and
Ward, of Kentucky, the Third divisions. The corps made
excellent time from Atlanta to Milledgeville, encountering no
enemy, not even firing a shot, except at venturesome swine and
cattle which strayed too near foraging parties.
NEW YORK PLANTS ITS COLORS ON THE CAPITAL.
Major General Slocum, the well tried commander of the left
wing, accompanied the corps, which moved on a better road than
that travelled by Davis, and reached the city one day in
advance of him, planting upon the State House of Georgia the
national colors of the One Hundred and Fourth New York
regiment, which regiment, with the Third Wisconsin, who fought
in the Valley of Virginia under Banks, were detailed as provost
guard.
These, however, were not the first troops to enter the
capital. The news that “Old Lightning”(which is now applied
to Sherman) was coming; spread like the wind and on Saturday
Governor Brown and the Legislature, which was in session,
packed up their valises and vamosed the ranch, leaving about
1,000 rebel cavalry to cover their retreat to Augusta, where
they hoped to find rest for their wearied feet.
CITY CAPTURED BY SCOUTS.
The cavalry left the same night, and on Sunday, the 20th,
Captain Duncan rushed into town on a “cavalry charge,
frightening the old granny who occupied the Mayorchair into
a surrender and stampeding all the male population, with a
small squad of ten men. One rebel lady, whose husband is a
high official in the State, and whose family is among the bon
ton, described the surrender in the following words:
“Early in the afternoon five Yankee scouts came dashing
pell mell into the town, when the men – the mean,
craven-hearted wretches, fully two hundred strong – skedaddled,
leaving our baby Mayor to go out and surrender the place
unconditionally to five greasy Yankees, ten miles in advance of
their army. Oh, the men are mean, chicken-hearted wretches,
and the Mayor a puffed up old fool. Had I been in town I
collected all the women and driven the skunks out with
manhandles and broom sticks.”
This is the whole story in a nutshell. The craven-hearted
bipeds of the masculine gender ran away and left their wives to
the tender mercies of the Yankees, who, they have time and
again asserted, came here to ravish, burn and plunder
indiscriminately.
THE REBEL CAPITAL
is a very pretty little city, capable of accommodating about
five thousand inhabitants. It is situated upon the Oconoe
river upon commanding ground, in the heart of a rich and
productive agricultural district, in Baldwin county. The
residences are nearly all splendid structures, the surroundings
of which show the owners to have been people of a high degree
of taste and refinement. The gardens of the more wealthy are
beautifully laid out; the lawns spacious and beautiful, and the
streets clean and well proportioned. In the centre of the town
is the Capitol building, a large brown stone building, of
modern style of architecture, situated in the centre of a ten
acre square, upon the corners of which, and inside of the fence
which surrounds the whole, are small, but neatly furnished
churches. Outside, and adjacent to the Capitol grounds, are the
arsenal and magazine, both very good buildings for the purposes
for which they are used. These, the Governormansion, and
the Milledgeville Hotel, are the chief public buildings of the
city. The Penitentiary is an institution now unknown, as it
was laid in ashes the night that the Twentieth corps entered
the city.
The rebels on evacuating the place released all the Union
men confined in the prison, and conscripted them into the rebel
army.
THE STATE HOUSE,
when I visited it, presented an appearance of devastation and
chaos. The troops had entered the Senate and Representative
chambers and the offices attached, and torn up the furniture,
scattered the contents of drawers about the floor, destroyed
the library and State papers left behind by Governor Brown and
his associates in their hurried flight, appropriated to their
own use everything they could carry, cut the trimmings from the
windows, and revelled in broad sheets of unsigned State bonds
and currency, several millions of which were found piled up in
one of the rooms, as well as the plates from which they had
been struck.
As I strolled leisurely through the chambers and committee
rooms, and gazed upon the hundreds of negroes who filled the
Capitol and revelled in its halls, I could not but feel that it
was no desecration – that it was fitting that a council hall
where the treasonable ordinance of secession was hatched and
given form should be spit upon and insulted by conquering
troops and disenthralled darkies, under the very shadows of the
lifelike portraits of Georgiachivalrous sons that adorned
the walls of both chambers. It is only a matter of surprise
that General Sherman, on evacuating that city, did not lay the
building in ashes.
A BOGUS STATE LEGISLATURE.
On the day that the Fourteenth corps triumphantly marched
intot he capital, to the music of the Union, the officers of
the Twentieth corps, to the number of about one hundred,
assembled at the Senate chamber, called the roll of the House,
appointed a Speaker and clerks and opened the Legislature with
prayer, the facetious chaplain praying for the overthrow of the
rebel government, the return of Georgia to the old Union, fine
weather and little fighting on our march to the coast,
concluding with the reamark, “All of which is respectfully
submitted.”
A lobby member very gravely arose in the gallery, and asked
if this honorable body would hear from the gallery.
Half an hourdiscussion followed, and, on a division, it
was decided that the gallery should be heard.
Rising with all the dignity and polish of a Chesterfield,
he quietly put his hand in a side pocket, drew out a flask,
placed it to his lips, replaced it in his pocket, and resumed
his seat.
The SPEAKER – I must raise a point of order. I believe it
is always customary to treat the Speaker.
LOBBY MEMBER – I beg the pardon of the honorable House for
my thoughtlessness. I believe it is customary to treat the
Speaker.
Here he produced the flask, and proceeded: “Yes, I beg to
inform the House that I shall treat the Speaker – respectfully.
The flask dropped into his pocket and he into his seat,
amid cheers from the gallery and smiles from the honorable
Speakercolleagues.
After the organization of the Legislature the question
of reconstructing the State was taken up and discussed for
some hours, with all the gravity conceivable, by the Yankee
representatives from the various counties. The result of the
deliberations was that the State was led back like a conquered
child into the Union, and a committee appointed to kick
Governor Brown and President Davis’nates, which committee
retired, and soon after returned and reported that they were
animated by a progressive spirit, but that the articles upon
which they were to exercise their extremities”were non
est.
The Legislature adjourned after the style of Governor
BrownLegislature of the previous Friday – by taking a square
drink and a handful of .”
FROM MILLEDGEVILLE TO SAVANNAH.
Leaving Colonel Estee to cover the evacuation, on the
morning of the 24th Slocum moved forward upon Sandersville, the
county seat of Washington county, Davis’corps on the left and
Williams’(Twentieth) corps on the right.
Howardarmy was on the Milledgeville and Macon Railway,
at Oconee bridge, where Wheelercavalry was contesting its
passage with considerable spirit. On the 23d and 24th there
was considerable skirmishing between
WHEELER AND KILPATRICK, AROUND MACON,
resulting in the repulse of the former, with considerable loss.
Kilpatrick could have captured the city easily had it been
Shermanintention to do so; but as a demonstration alone was
ordered, he retired after driving the enemy inside his works.
Kilpatrick spent several hours destroying the railway towards
Gordon, and followed on in pursuit of Wheeler. Several hours
delay was caused to Howardcolumn at the Oconee bridge, which
was stoutly held by Major Hartridge, of Wheelercommand, but
he was eventually dislodged after burning the bridge. The
troops passed over on pontoons, and on the night of the 26th
arrived at Irwin crossroads, in Wilkin county.
WHEELER STAMPEDED BY A FORAGING PARTY.
On the evening of the 26th General Morgan. Second
division, Fourteenth corps, had the advance, and when within a
mile of Sandersville the mounted foraging parties in his
advance encountered Wheelercavalry, under command of the
general himself. The foraging party dismounted, deployed as
skirmishers, and drove Wheeler from his barricade of rails,
when Morganadvance (the second brigade) came up, and in ten
minutes Wheeler and his three thousand horse were rushing madly
out of the town, which was at once occupied by Morgan, whose
command burned the court house and a number of shops. The men,
in retaliation for having been fired upon, almost gutted the
hotel, court house, offices and stores, and liberally”
upon the inhabitants.
On the evening of the 28th the left wing arrived at the
OGEECHEE RIVER
bridge, which had been burned. The Ogeechee runs through
Williamson swamp, one of those marshy bayous that are becoming
more and more numerous as we penetrate the country towards the
coast. Of course the river had to be pontooned and half a mile
of swamp corduroyed for the passage of the wagons, which
quickly cut through the marshy soil everywhere found about
these rivers.
LOUISVILLE, THE ORIGINAL STATE CAPITAL.
Bairdand Morgandivisions of Davis’corps, moved on
Louisville from the left, by Fernbridge, on the upper
Ogeechee, and arrived there early in the afternoon. The place
was sacked, and several houses and public buildings burned.
HOWARD MOVING ON MILLEN.
Howard arrived at Swainsboro, on the Great Choopee river,
today, moving towards the great railway centre at Millen, where
Kilpatrick is believed to be, and to which pint the left wing
is also destined.
Considerable railway was torn up by Geary, Ward and Jackson
between the Oconee and the Ogeechee rivers.
On the 29th Davis’column marched to
LOUISVILLE,
the county seat of Jefferson county, where it encamped for the
night. This town is one of the oldest in the State, and was
the first capital when the State was in its infancy. Through
the kindness of Lieutenant Colonel D. Miles, of the
Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania, I had the pleasure of perusing a
copy of the Louisville Gazette and Republican Trumpet,
published as early as 1803, in the old style of typography.
The Gazette was started in 1799 by Ambrose Day and James Hely,
and though a small sheet contained considerable news. A large
portion of it is devoted to legal advertisements and notices of
henpecked husbands, who caution the public against harboring or
trusting their unfaithful wives. The number before me contains
a letter from Thomas Paine, taken from the National
Intelligencer, relative to the contest between Aaron Burr and
Mr. Jefferson for President of the United States, which is
remarkable for its caustic properties; a report of
Congressional proceedings of that day, a memoir of Hon. Senator
Watt, of Washington County, a hero of the Revolutionary war,
who died on the 16th February, 1803; communications, essays,
&c. It is quite a curiosity in the newspaper line.
The twentieth corps today have been employed in tearing up
the railway between Davisborough and the Ogeechee river.
The First division of the Fourteenth corps on the
morning of the 30th moved to Burton station, near the Ogeechee
bridge, after leaving the Second and Third divisions to march
on the direct road to Waynesboro. Carlin at dark was within
within the mile of the Seventeenth corps, which crossed to the
south side of the Ogeechee that evening, the Fifteenth corps,
encamped three miles north of the river farther south.
Previous to leaving Louisville, several buildings were
destroyed as well as a large amount of cotton. Bairdand
Morgandivisions of the Fourteenth corps remained in camp on
the Waynesboro and Sebastople road, and on the morning of
December 1 moved forward several miles.
THREATENING AUGUSTA.
and the flank of Wheelercavalry, that was skirmishing all
the previous day with Kilpatrick, four miles southeast of
Louisville. Carlindivision moved about five mile on
Wheelerleft flank, between him and the railway. The
Seventeenth corps was employed in tearing up the railway from
the point reached by the Twentieth corps towards Millen, while
Howard took the Fifteenth corps, crossed the river and
inaugurated a movement upon Millen from the south side of the
railway.
On the 2d the left wing moved towards Waynesboro, Carlin on
the right and Baird and Morgan on the left. The Twentieth
corps, that on the night of the First, crossed to the right of
the Fourteenth, moved on the direct road and at five in the
evening both corps came together near Buckhead creek. The
Twentieth corps had the road, consequently the Fourteenth was
crowded upon the road to the left running in the direction of
Lumpkin. On the Augusta and Millen railway, while the twentieth
corps moved across Buckhead creek.
TWO MEN’S THROATS CUT.
During the daymarch three graves of three members of the
Twenty- first Ohio were found on the plantation of a rebel
captain, named McCullough, where they had been murdered the
night before by McCullough and his gang while foraging. One of
the murdered man was Walter Burns, of Findlay, Ohio, who was
postmaster of the Third brigade of Carlindivision, a young
man who, at the battle of Jonesboro, acted as orderly, and
carried orders where few men would go. Some of the comrades of
the men opened the graves and found that the throats of two of
them had been cut. Such is the fate that awaited all who
ventured outside of the pickets and fell into the enemyhands
while foraging.
HOWARD AT MILLEN.
On the evening of the 2d Howard(right) wing arrived at
Millen, having, with the assistance of Slocum, most effectually
destroyed the Central Railway fro Macon to that place.
Saturday, the 3d, Carlindivision, followed by Morgan,
started for the Millen and Augusta Railway, near Lumpkin
station but so much difficulty was experienced in finding the
roads and pontooning Buckhead and Rocky creeks, that they
marched about ten miles to make an advance of four. At night
the railway was reached without encountering any enemy. Baird
was on the extreme left, supporting Kilpatrickcavalry, which
skirmished more or less all day.
Howard, after destroying the railroad both ways from
Millen, moved off in the direction of Jacksonboro, to which
place the left wing is also heading.
On the 4th the First division of Davis’corps destroyed
about three miles of the railway north and south of Lumpkins
station, while Kilpatrick had a sharp skirmish with Wheeler
cavalry on the left, near Waynesboro, in which our artillery
did great execution, killing ad wounding a large number. A few
shells had been thrown into Bairdcamp during the previous
night. Leaving Lumpkin station, Morgandivision covered the
rear. Colonel Miles, of the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania,
commanding the brigade during Colonel Hambrightillness, had
his rear attacked by about one hundred cavalry, who showed
themselves in the edge of a cornfield near the railway.
Lieutenant Colonel McMahon, of the Twenty-first Ohio, who was
the rear guard, threw out skirmishers and drove them back.
After leaving the railway a mile in the rear the cavalry came
up, when the Colonel changed front to the ear, deployed
skirmishers and drove the marauders back. The column moved on
about six miles and halted for the night.
A MINE OF WEALTH STRUCK.
While working near the railway at Lumpkins five members of
the Eighty-eighth Indiana dug up a rebel paymasterbox
containing ten dollars in silver and five hundred thousand
dollars in rebel bills of the new issue. It was quite a
windfall to the boys, who use it to fight the “and
replenish their larder.
IN THE SWAMPS.
On the fifth Morgan took the advance and, followed by
Carlin, made Jacksonboro before dark, notwithstanding that the
country was a barren waste and the roads fearfully cut up by
swamps and ditches, into which horses plunged promiscuously,
enveloping the riders in mud and filth. Many of the streams
and swamps had to be pontooned or corduroyed.
Arriving at Jacksonboro, we found it occupied by Brigadier
General Bairddivision and Kilpatrickcavalry, who had just
soundly thrashed Wheeler at Waynesboro and fallen back.
On the morning of the 6th, Morgan, in the advance, moved
on the direct Savannah road, followed by Carlin. Baird crossed
Beaver Dam at eight A. M., and followed in rear, Kilpatrick
covering his rear and flanks. At night the column halted near
the Savannah river, eighteen miles southeast of Jacksonboro,
and three miles from the Twentieth corps, which was moving on a
parallel road to the right.
LARGE “FINDS”OF TREASURE.
All along the line of march Shermansoldiers have reveled
in rebel script and foreign currency. The citizens, hearing of
the approach of the “Yanks,”buried nearly all their valuables,
much of which were exhumed by the men, who rarely fail to
discover it. Among the large “was $2,000 in gold by
some members of Hobartbrigade of Carlindivision. Rebel
money is so plentiful in camp that the men light their pipes
with $50 bills, and kindle their fires with $5,000 Georgia
State bonds.
INCIDENTS.
At Milledgeville we made the acquaintance of a relative of
the Hon. Mr. Crawford, late Secretary of War, who kept a
private table for the accommodation of officers. Many of our
officers while in the city called upon her – prompted partly by
the fact that among her household were several very pretty lady
boarders – asked for dinner, paying therefore one dollar each.
I found her to be a violent rebel, and freely entered into
conversation with her on political subjects. Some of the
commanders gave her a guard, which was withdrawn on the
departure of the column. Seeing her hand the guard about two
hundred and fifty dollars in greenbacks. I looked surprised,
and asked “Why do you do that?”
Drawing herself up grandly and frowning contemptuously, she
replied:-
“I am not a traitor to my country, I would not deal in the
accursed trash.”
THE CONTRABANDS.
From the time we left Atlanta, with fifty or one hundred
contrabands, the brigades”continued to swell in
numbers until we arrived at the Ogeechee river, when fully
10,000 were attached to the various columns. They represented
all shades and conditions, from the almost white housemaid
servant, worth $15,000 in rebel currency, to the tar black,
pock marked cotton picker, who never crosses massadoor sill.
A very large majority of them were women and children, who,
mounted on mules, sometimes five on an animal, in ox wagons,
buggies and vehicles of every description, blocked the roads
and materially delayed the movement of the columns. It was no
unusual sight to behold a slave mother carrying two young
children and leading a third, who, in a half nude state,
trudged along the thorny path to freedom. Columns could be
written descriptive of the harrowing scenes presented by this
unfortunate class of fugitives.
BLOCKADING THE CONTRABANDS.
So much difficulty did General Davis find in moving his
column that at the Ogeechee river, as a military necessity, he
placed a guard at the bridge, who halted the caravan of
contrabands until the rear of the column passed, and than
removed the pontoon. The negroes, however, not to be
frustrated, constructed a foot bridge and crossed. Next day
the column had its full complement of negroes.
THEY ARE AGAIN HALTED.
Arriving at Ebenezer creek, the same method was taken to
clear the column, with better success. The creek runs through
a half mile of swamp, which is covered by water, and can only
be crossed by a narrow bridge. This bridge was taken up, and
the moment our forces disappeared the brutal Wheeler was in our
rear. Next day only a few darkies came up. Another day passed
and still fully two-thirds were missing. Inquiries elicited
the information that Wheeler, on finding the defenceless
negroes blocked,
CHARGED UPON THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN,
and drove them pell-mell into the water, where those who
escaped say they struggled to reach the opposite bank, amidst
heartrending shrieks; but most of the mothers went down in the
water with their children clasped to their bosoms, while
Wheeler and his inhuman band looked on with demoniac smiles.
How far true this may be I know not, but all the negroes who
escaped, with whom I have talked, seem to agree in their
account of the hellish slaughter.
“GIVE ME SOMETHING OF MY STARVING CHILDREN.”
An officer called upon a lady in Effingham county, whose
plantation had been stripped of everything, and found her in
tears and her children crying for bread. He endeavored to
soothe her, when she lifted up her beautiful eyes beseechingly,
and implored, “Give me something for my starving children.”
Away the officer went to his mess and fed the children from his
private larder. On the following morning he was quite
chagrined to witness two oak boxes, one barrel of flour, four
trunks, and other articles exhumed from the garden by the
soldiers.
HIDING THEIR INFANT MOSES.
Riding up to a house one day in Scriven county I met an old
woman and three grown up daughters at the door uttering frantic
appeals for help. I inquired what was wrong, when the old
woman pointed to a burning cotton gin, and exclaimed,
“Put it out! You uns are burnin’me child!”
I asked where the child was, and succeeded in learning that
it was in the burning gin house.
Away I went, with some men, to rescue the innocent, and at
the door met a ten year old boy, who badly singed, issued forth
from the fiery furnace. Returning to the house, I inquired how
the boy came there.
Putting the old pipe between her lips, to compose her
nerves, the old lady at last ventured an explanation: -
“Well,”said she, uns heard that you uns killed all the
little boys, to keep them out from growing up to fight ye, and
we hid `em.”
Strange as this may seem among the poor, ignorant dupes of
Davis, it is a common belief that the Yankees slay all the male
children. We found many infant Mosses and Jeffs hid away in
cellars and corncribs, but none in bulrushes.
REVELLING IN FEMALE APPAREL.
Shortly after leaving Milledgeville General Davis detected
two soldiers stealing ladies’clothing from a house near the
road. Turning them over to the provost marshal, they were
dressed in the stolen crinoline and petticoats, tied to the
rear of wagons, and for six days marched through muddy fords
and swamps as an example to the men of his command. They came
out from the ordeal with slightly discolored skirts and dirty
stockings.
“MADAME, GIVE US THE PIANO TO COOK DINNER.”
It would be useless to deny the fact that some pillaging
was perpetrated in large army like Sherman, in a march
through a country where there was found so much to tempt the
fancy; yet there was very little cause for complaint. The
following is said to have actually occurred, but the authority
is the unfortunate victim: -
A foraging party visited a plantation, and entered upon the
pleasant pastime of strangling chickens and bayoneting hogs.
Finding a fine flock of sheep they for them,”as the boys
say, when the rebel owner came out and told them to take all
but two imported merino sheep, which she highly prized. Having
pointed the pets out to the men, she returned to the house. A
few minutes after, she says, they returned, informed her that
they had killed the fatted sheep, and proposed to dine upon it.
Said they: -
“Madam, give us the piano; it is a sacrilege to cook so
choice mutton with common fuel.”
The piano, she avers, was carried out, broken up, the fire
kindled in the yard, and the dinner highly relished by the
jolly foragers.
OUR REAR AGAIN THREATENED.
On December 7 Davis moved at Six o, Morgan in
advance, Carlin centre, and Baird rear. A brigade of
Kilpatrickcavalry covered the rear, and skirmished slightly
with Fergusonbrigade of rebel cavalry, who followed us up
all day. The weather was very unfavorable, and the heavy
showers of rain that fell during the day rendered the roads and
swamps very bad and the movement of heavy trains no easy or
pleasant job. We encountered, as we moved on a road running
parallel and only about a mile from the Savannah, a great many
swamps, creeks and bayous that had to be bridged or corduroyed.
Consequently our progress was very much impeded. Eighteen
miles were made, nevertheless, and at nine oat night the
advance encamped on Ebenezer creek, thirty-seven miles from
Savannah. About ten oA. M.
FERGUSON ATTACKED
part of Kilpatrickcavalry in a swamp, over which Baird had
just passed, and after a few volleys had been exchanged bagged
a few men of the Ninth Michigan. Several of our scouting
parties approached the river and found it lined with rebels on
the other side, who fired upon every one showing himself upon
the bank. At Hudsonferry, about forty-six miles from the
city, a party of cavalry found two brigades of rebel infantry
to contest any effort on our part to cross.
THE RIGHT FLANK CROSSING OGEECHEE.
Howard is still moving forward. Last evening his left was
at Guyton, on the Millen and Savannah Railroad, and the right
was crossing the Ogeechee at Eden, fifteen miles from Savannah.
Slocum reached Springfield, the county seat of Effingham,
last evening, and encamped.
SPLENDID HEALTH OF THE ARMY.
Dr. Daniels, Medical Director of the Fourteenth corps,
informs me that the deaths from disease and wounds, and wounded
in the corps since it left Atlanta is only twenty-five, or much
less than it would be in garrison. Of course this does not
include the men who were captured while straggling from their
commands, which is full one hundred.
MORE OBSTRUCTIONS.
On the 8th the troops moved at the usual hour, crossed a
long and dangerous swamp, and suddenly found Ebenezer creek in
their front, with all the bridges burned. This creek is quite
near the Savannah, in the midst of a half mile of swamp, which
was overflowed by the back waters of the Savannah. All the
pontooneers, under Col. Buell, were put to work; but the
trains did not get over until about dark. In the meantime the
rebel cavalry under Ferguson came upon our rear and flanks, and
attacked Atkins’cavalry brigade. General Davis placed Baird
and Carlin.
IN LINE OF BATTLE,
threw up breastworks and awaited an attack. In the afternoon
the rebels charged what they supposed to be cavalry, when
Baird gave them a volley that sent them back howling like
whipped curs. They were satisfied, and did not renew their
efforts to capture our trains. While the troops were in line
of battle half a mile from the Savannah, awaiting the crossing
of Morgan and the trains over Ebenezer creek,
A REBEL GUNBOAT
ran down the river and shelled the road upon which our trains
were moving, but did no damage, fortunately. Had a section of
artillery been planted on the river bank, the gunboat could
have been blown to atoms, as the river at this point is only
about fifty yards wide.
At twelve oat night the column resumed their march,
crossed Ebenezer creek and another smaller river, and at two
oA. M. Encamped at
FORT GREENE,
ground rendered historical in the annals of the Revolution as
the spot where Greene defended the Savannah river against the
British. A church erected by the Lutherans in 1769 is within a
few hundred yards of the river. It is a large brick structure,
of the usual style of architecture, built of red brick,
surmounted by a cupola or spire of modest pretensions. The
windows are hung with Venetian blinds, which would be improved
by a a coat of paint. The interior of the church is quite
unassuming; the pulpit is about twelve feet high, after the
style of our city churches, built of white oak, the desk
covered with red velvet and trimmings. The floor is clean and
smooth, the seats painted white, with black walnut mouldings.
The edifice shows its age, but will last a century or more. I
am not familiar with its history; but old citizens say it was
within its walls that Green placed his wounded soldiers.
About four hundred yards further on towards the river is the
celebrated Fort Green, still in a good state of preservation.
KILPATRICK ON THE FLANKS.
Nearly all the skirmishing, from Atlanta to Macon, was done
by General Kilpatrickdivision of cavalry, composed of the
First brigade, under command of Colonel E. H. Murray, of the
Third Kentucky, and the Second brigade, under Colonel Atkins,
of the Ninety-second Illinois mounted infantry. The whole
force, under command of Kilpatrick, moved out of Atlanta on the
15th, on the Jonesboro road, and on the same afternoon
skirmishing commenced with the enemycavalry, who were in his
front in considerable force, composed of one brigade, under
Hana.
REBEL CAVALRY LOSE THEIR CAMP.
The Tenth Ohio, one of the best regiments in the command,
promptly attacked the enemy, drove them gallantly before them,
capturing their camp, a number of prisoners, and a large supply
of forage.
AGAIN STIRRED UP – “KIL”TAKES TWO GUNS.
On the morning of the 16th the cavalry moved on Lovejoy,
where they found the enemy dismounted and occupying the works
thrown up by Hood in September last. The rebels were partly
composed of militia, and they had with them two pieces of
artillery. The Eighth Indiana, Lieutenant Colonel Jones, and
the Third Kentucky, Lieutenant Colonel King, were ordered
forward, and charged the works, driving the enemy out and
capturing one gun. Lieutenant Griffin, commanding Kilpatrick
scouts, with his command, gallantly won the other gun as a
trophy.
REINFORCED AND AGAIN ROUTED.
Kilpatrick pursued them to Bear creek station, where they
had been reinforced by Williamsonand Andersons’rebel
brigades, who were behind rail breastworks, from which they
were driven by the Tenth Ohio, who lost several men, among whom
were Lieutenants Gregg and Morgan, killed and Lieutenant
Morgan, captured.
Nothing of importance occurred on the 17th, except
occasional skirmishes.
On the 18th the command arrived at Planterferry, on the
Ocmulgee river, at two o, and on the 19th at Bright
plantation, near where Stoneman was capture. Colonel Atkins
occupied Clinton, driving out the enemy.
THE FEINT ON MACON.
On the 20th the cavalry occupied Clinton, and passing on
via Cross Keys, encountered the enemy strongly posted on the
heights around Macon, with eight pieces of artillery.
Kilpatrick made preliminary disposition of his forces, and
skirmishing at once commenced. After the position of the enemy
had been ascertained, the railway was torn up for some miles, a
train captured, loaded with supplies, near Griswoldville, where
the Tenth Ohio charged on horseback into the works, capturing
the artillery; but the fighting of the enemy was so determined
that they were compelled to retreat without the guns. The
charge is described by those who witnessed it as one of the
most gallant on record. Having carried out his orders to
threaten Macon, but not sacrifice life in its capture.
Kilpatrick withdrew his forces, and on the 21st tore up the
railway to Gordonsville, burned a number of factories and
machine shops, and some houses, skirmishing the entire day.
CHARGE OF THE NINTH PENNSYLVANIA.
On the 22d the command arrived near Gordon, where the enemy
showed fight, and Colonel Jordan, with the Ninth Pennsylvania
cavalry, charged them in splendid style, routing the terror
stricken enemy in every direction, and capturing arms, horses,
hats, &c., which the enemy left behind in their precipitate
retreat. The regiment lost six killed, twenty-one wounded and
forty-nine missing. The enemy also suffered severely.
WALCOTT’S VICTORY AT GRISWOLDVILLE.
While the cavalry battle was progressing the rebels brought
up three brigades of infantry, under General Phillips, when
Howard ordered up General Walcottbrigade of the Fifteenth
corps to support the cavalry and the engagement at once assumed
the form of a battle. Walcott came down on the rebel militia
like a hurricane, dealing death and destruction into the enemy;
yet they gallantly stood the terrific fire of infantry
arriedly. He thinks often before he acts; but when he does
move the rebels must clear the way for him, or a crash is sure
to follow. My own opinion is that the city will not surrender
until it is forced to, but that will be before many weeks roll
by. They have not supplies to stand more than a month
investment, and must then attack Sherman or surrender. Hardee
is in chief command of the city and defences.
 

From Accessible Archives Newspaper Database
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