Слике страница

eighteen hundred buildings, not including woodsheds and outhouses, the whole valued at about two millions of dollars. As far as possible private property was spared-the object being simply to make the city of no use to the enemy when they should reoccupy it.

between the northern and southern portions of the Confederacy, and their destruction, therefore, which was one of the objects of the expedition, would be a severe blow to the enemy. The region included within these railroads was probably the richest and most populous of Georgia, containing Milledgeville, the capital of the State, and other important towns. It was said to be rich in all kinds of agricultural produce and abundantly able to supply the wants of a large invading army. To this region had also been transported large numbers of slaves for greater security, from the more exposed parts of other rebel States Besides these considerations was the fact that there were but few rebel troops there, a few brigades of cavalry under General Wheeler, and such troops as could be spared from Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah, and the inexperienced Georgia militia, constituting the entire force that could be concentrated to oppose the march of Sherman's wellappointed and magnificent army.

Two great lines of railway, nearly parallel and having a general southeasterly direction, connected Atlanta with the Atlantic seaboard, one terminating at Charleston, 308 miles distant, the other at Savannah, 293 miles distant. The former line, composed of the Georgia Railroad, 171 miles long, extending from Atlanta to Augusta, and of the South Carolina Railroad, 137 miles long, extending from Augusta to Charleston; and the latter, consisting of the Western and Macon road, 103 miles long, connecting Atlanta and Macon, and of the Central Georgia Railroad, 190 miles long, connecting Macon with Savannah. From Augusta there also ran a cross railroad due south to Millen, on the Georgia Central Railroad, 53 miles long, affording a second route to Savannah from Atlanta, ten miles longer than that While Atlanta was yet in flames, through Macon. The belt of country Sherman's army began its march castbetween the two main lines of railroad, ward in four columns, the two constitutas far east as Augusta and Millen, is of ing the left wing under Slocum, with an average breadth of about forty miles; whom was General Sherman himself, east of those points the country between following the railroad toward Augusta, the roads gradually expands to a width while the two constituting the right of nearly a hundred miles. The Geor- wing under Howard, accompanied by gia road since the capture of Atlanta Kilpatrick's cavalry, marched in the had lost much of its importance, but all direction of Jonesboro and McDonough, the others, including that between with orders to make a strong feint on Augusta and Millen, were important Macon, to cross the Ocmulgee about links in the chain of communications | Planter's Mills, and rendezvous in the

neighborhood of Gordon in seven days. General Slocum with the twentieth corps moved by way of Decatur and Stone Mountain, with orders to tear up the railroad from Social Circle to Madison, to burn the important railroad bridge across the Oconee, east of Madison, and then turn southward and rendezvous at Milledgeville on the seventh day. General Sherman himself left Atlanta on the 16th in company with the fourteenth corps, commanded by General Davis, which marched by way of Lithonia, Covington, and Shady Dale, also toward Milledgeville. All the corps were provided with good wagon trains, in which the supplies of ammunition were abundant, but with only twenty days' bread, forty days' sugar and coffee, beef cattle equal to forty days' supplies, and a double allowance of salt. Three days' forage in grain was also taken. At the same time all were instructed to live during the march chiefly if not altogether on the country, which abounded in corn, sweet potatoes, and cattle.

paign, and left the whole southeast open, with little opposition to be apprehended on the part of General Sherman whatever route he might take. His first object was to place his army in the heart of Georgia, interposing it between Macon and Augusta, and thus oblige the enemy to scatter what forces they had, to defend not only those points, but Millen, Savannah, and Charleston. To perplex the rebels, and divide their forces by pretended demonstrations on places widely separated, leaving it doubtful whether the immediate objective was Augusta or Macon, or both, would be most likely to insure a speedy and uninterrupted march to the coast.

General Howard's command, of which the fifteenth corps formed the right, following the railroad southward as far as Jonesboro, encountered the mounted troops of Iverson; but these were quickly dispersed by Kilpatrick's cavalry. The column then moved eastward through McDonough and Jackson to the Ocmulgee, crossed it at Planter's Factory, and At what point on the seaboard Sher- passing southward through Monticello man would come out could not be and Hillsboro, and between Milledgeville definitely fixed. It was not impossible, and Clinton, struck the Georgia Central as he would be obliged to subsist at Railroad on the 22d, the left at Oct. least partially on the country, that a Gordon, twenty miles east of Macon, 22. force inferior to his own might compel the right extending westward toward him to turn aside for such a point as he Griswoldville. In conjunction with the could reach, instead of following to the operations of Howard's column, the sea such a route as he chose. The greater part of the Federal cavalry blindness of the Confederate authorities, under Kilpatrick made a circuit by the however, allowed them to send Hood's right, through Griffin and Forsyth, army-the only considerable force they toward Macon. At first the rebels suphad between Richmond and the Missis- posed this to be only a raid on a grand sippi-northward on an offensive cam-scale, but on the approach of Howard's

wood protected in front by an open morass, and threw up a rail breast-work. About two in the afternoon a force of the enemy, about five thousand strong, moved out of Macon and approached Walcott's position. The Federal cavalry fell back slowly and placed themselves in connection with the infantry so as to protect them in flank and rear, and leave the enemy no alternative but to make a direct front attack. The rebel force, consisting of a part of Hardee's old command brought up from Savannah and several brigades of militia, under General Phillips, advanced boldly, and, being mostly inexperienced troops,

column-and still remaining ignorant woldville, the troops took position in a of Slocum's movement in the direction of Augusta-they began to think the capture of Macon to be what Sherman was aiming at, and concentrated at that place all their available force, consisting of some cavalry under Wheeler, a small body of veterans, and several brigades of militia. On the 20th, eight hundred of Kilpatrick's cavalry with four cannon, made a pretended attack on East Macon, two miles east of the city, and drove the enemy within their intrenchments. Little loss was sustained on either side, but the movement very effectually accomplished its purpose of confirming the rebels in the belief that Macon was Sherman's objective. The Federal cav-not understanding the strength of the alry then, after destroying several miles of railroad east of Walnut Creek, withdrew to Griswoldville. The fifteenth and seventeenth corps having struck the Central Georgia Railroad on the 22d, as was said above, immediately went to work to destroy the track and the road bed between Gordon and Griswoldville. It was while this work was going on that the severest battle of the campaign up to this date took place. General Walcott's brigade of infantry, with a section of artillery and some cavalry, forming the extreme right of the fifteenth corps, had been thrown forward to Griswoldville to cover that flank-while Howard's trains were closing up and his men destroying the railroads-and at the same time to continue the demonstration on Macon commenced by Kilpatrick two days before. After burning the principal buildings in Gris

Federal position, attempted to carry it by storm. They made six desperate assaults, which General Walcott's veterans, well protected by their breastworks, repelled with ease, and with little loss, while the rebels moving with difficulty through the morass, and exposed to a steady fire from men conscious of security, suffered severely, leaving when they retired three hundred dead upon the field. Their total loss, according to their own account, was 614, including General Anderson severely wounded, but was probably nearer two thousand. After this battle, Macon might easily have been taken by General Howard, but now that its railroad connections were destroyed, the possession of that place was no longer an important object.

In the mean time the left wing of Sherman's army continued its march

« ПретходнаНастави »