Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete

Part 25 out of 44

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 5.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

of the Yazoo in ague, fevers, and diseases of the bowels. Cavalry
was useless. One battalion of Illinois cavalry was strongly
suspected of camping in the timber, until time passed enough to
justify the suspicion of having been somewhere. Really the
strength of Vicksburg was in being out of reach of attack....

"My orders were to learn and report what was going on on the right,
particularly to try and form an idea of the enemy's force in front
of M. L. Smith's division, and at the sand-bar. Leaving my horse
close in the rear of the Sixth Missouri, when the fire became too
heavy for riding, I succeeded, by taking frequent cover, in
reaching unhurt the verge of the bayou among the drift-logs.
There, by concert of action with Lieutenant-Colonel Blood, of the
Sixth Missouri, his regiment, and the Thirteenth Regular Infantry,
kept up a heavy fire on everything that showed along the levee and
earthworks in front. The enemy were behind the embankment, not
over one hundred and fifty yards across the bayou. Several
officers, including Colonel Blood, Colonel Kilby Smith, and myself,
managed, by getting on the piles of drift, to see over the levee
through the cleared fields beyond, even to the foot of the bluff.
The chips and twigs flew around lively enough, but we staid up long
enough to make sure that the enemy had as many men behind the levee
as could get cover. We saw, also, a line of rifle-pits in the
rear, commanding the rear of the levee, and still beyond, winding
along the foot of the bluff, a road worn by long use deep into the
side-hill, and with the side next us strengthened with a good
earthwork, affording a covered line of communication in the rear.
The fire of our men was so well maintained that we were able to see
all these things, say a minute or more. Some of those who ventured
were wounded, but those mentioned and myself escaped unhurt. I
advised that men enough to hold the position, once across--say
three hundred--should make a rush (protected as our lookout had
been by a heavy fire) across the sand-bar, and get a footing under
the other bank of the bayou, as the nucleus of an attacking force,
if General Sherman decided to attack there, or to make a strong
diversion if the attack was made at the head of Chickasaw Bayou, in
front of Morgan. General A. J. Smith, commanding First and Second
Divisions, approved of this. While returning to General Sherman, I
passed along the Second and part of the Third Division. On the
left of the Second I found a new Illinois regiment, high up in
numbers, working its way into position. The colonel, a brave but
inexperienced officer, was trying to lead his men according to the
popular pictorial idea, viz., riding in advance waving his sword.
I was leading my horse, and taking advantage of such cover as I
could find on my course, but this man acted so bravely that I tried
to save him. He did not accept my expostulations with very good
grace, but was not rough about it. While I was begging him to
dismount, he waved his sword and advanced. In a second he was
shot, through the chest, and dropped from his horse, plucky to the
last. He died, I was told, within the hour. Many of the regiments
were new and inexperienced, but as a rule behaved well. The fire
along the bayou was severe, but not very fatal, on account of the
cover. I was constantly asked what news from Grant, for from the
moment of our arrival in the Yazoo we were in expectation of either
hearing his guns in the rear, or of having communication with him.
This encouraged the men greatly, but the long waiting was
disappointing, as the enemy was evidently in large force in the
plenty of works, and a very strong position. Careful estimates and
available information placed their force at fifteen to twenty
thousand men. I returned to headquarters about the middle of the
afternoon, and made my report to the general. We were busy till
after midnight, and again early in the morning of the 29th, in
preparing orders for the attack. These were unusually minute in
detail. It seemed as though no contingency was left unprovided
for. Urgent orders and cautions as to rations and ammunition were
given. Drawings of the line of attack, orders for supports, all
and everything was foreseen and given in writing, with personal
explanations to commanders of divisions, brigades, and even
commanders of regiments. Indeed, the commanding general, always
careful as to detail, left nothing to chance, and with experienced
and ordinate officers we would have succeeded, for the troops were
good. The general plan involved a feint on our left toward
Haines's Bluff, by the navy, under Admiral Porter, with whom we
were in constant communication, while between him and General
Sherman perfect harmony existed. On the right a demonstration by
A. J. Smith was to be made. The Second Division (Stuart's) was to
cross the sand-bar, and the Third (General Morgan's) was to cross
on a small bridge over the dough at the head of Chickasaw Bayou,
and, supported by Steele, was to push straight for the Bluff at the
nearest spur where there was a battery in position, and to effect
a lodgment there and in the earthworks. General Sherman gave his
orders in person to Morgan and Steele. I understood Morgan to
promise that he would lead his division in person, and he seemed to
expect an easy victory, and expressed himself freely to that
effect. The aides were sent out, until I was left alone with the
general and a couple of orderlies. He located himself in a
position easy of access, and the most convenient afforded to the
point of attack. He directed me to see what I could, and report if
I met anything that he should know. I galloped as fast as possible
to the right, and found part of the Sixth Missouri pushing over the
sand-bar covered by the Thirteenth Regulars with a heavy fire. We
supposed, if once across, they could get up the bank and turn the
levee against the enemy, and left with that impression. Being in
heavy timber, I was not quite sure of my way back to the general,
his location being new, and therefore pushed full gallop for
Morgan's front, catching a good many stray shots from the
sharpshooters behind the levee, as I was compelled to keep in sight
of the bayou to hold direction. Something over half-way along
Morgan's division front, the commander of a Kentucky regiment
hailed me and said he must have support, as he was threatened by a
masked battery, and the enemy was in force in his front, and might
cross any moment. I answered, rather shortly, 'How the devil do
you know there is a masked battery? If you can't get over, how can
the rebels get at you?' He insisted on the battery, and danger. I
finally told him the bayou was utterly impassable there, but, if he
insisted the enemy could cross, I would insist on an advance on our
side at that point. Hurrying on to make up lost time, I soon
reached Morgan. He was making encouraging speeches in a general
way, but stopped to ask me questions as to Steele's rank, date of
commission, etc. I was very much disturbed at this, fearing want
of harmony, and rode on to Steele, whom I found cursing Morgan so
fiercely that I could not exactly make out the source of the
trouble, or reason why; but saw want of concert clearly enough. I
hastened back to General Sherman, and endeavored to impress my
ideas on him and my fears; but, while he admitted the facts, he
could not be made to believe that any jealousy or personal quarrel
could lead to a failure to support each other, and a neglect of
duty. The signal for attack had already been given, and the
artillery had opened, when I left him again for Morgan's front. I
found Morgan where I left him, and the troops advancing. I had
understood that he was to lead his division, and asked about it,
but, getting no satisfaction, pushed for the front, crossing the
slough at the little bridge at the head of the bayou. I found the
willows cut off eighteen inches or two feet long, with sharp points
above the mud, making it slow and difficult to pass, save at the
bridge. I overtook the rear of the advance about two or three
hundred feet up the gentle slope, and was astonished to find how
small a force was making the attack. I was also surprised to find
that they were Steele's men instead of Morgan's. I also saw
several regiments across the bayou, but not advancing; they were
near the levee. A heavy artillery and infantry fire was going on
all this time. While making my way along the column, from which
there were very few falling back, a shell burst near me, and the
concussion confused me at the time and left me with a headache for
several months. When I got my wits about me again I found a good
many coming back, but the main part of the force was compact and
keeping up the fight. I did not get closer to the woods than about
five hundred feet, and found that a large number had penetrated
into the enemy's works. When our men fell back, very few ran, but
came slowly and sullenly, far more angry than frightened. I found
General Frank Blair on foot, and with him Colonel Sea, of Southwest
Missouri, and learned that Colonel Thomas Fletcher, afterward
Governor of Missouri, was captured with many of his men. They both
insisted there on the spot, with those around us, that if all the
men ordered up had gone up, or even all that crossed the bayou had
moved forward, we could have readily established ourselves in the
enemy's works. I was firmly of the same opinion at the time on the
ground; and, an entrance effected, we could have brought the whole
force on dry ground, and had a base of operations against
Vicksburg--though probably, in view of later events, we would have
had to stand a siege from Pemberton's army. After explanations
with Blair, I rode to where the men were, who had crossed the
bayou, but had not advanced with the others. I found them to be De
Courcey's brigade; of Morgan's division, which General Sherman
supposed to be in advance. In fact, it was the intended support
that made the attack. A correspondence and controversy followed
between General Blair and Colonel De Courcey, most of which I have,
but nothing came of it. On reaching the bayou, I found that
Thayer's brigade, of Steele's division, had in some way lost its
direction and filed off to the right. Remembering the masked
battery, I suspected that had something to do with the matter, and,
on following it up, I learned that the Kentucky colonel before
mentioned had appealed for aid against the masked battery and
invisible force of rebels, and that a regiment had been ordered to
him. This regiment, filing off into the timber, had been followed
by Thayer's brigade, supposing it to be advancing to the front, and
thus left a single brigade to attack a superior force of the enemy
in an intrenched and naturally strong position. By the time the
mistake could be rectified, it was too late. Our loss was from one
hundred and fifty to two hundred killed, and about eleven hundred
prisoners and wounded. During the afternoon I went with a flag of
truce, with reference to burying the dead. I saw between eighty
and one hundred of our men dead, all stripped. There were others
closer into the enemy's works than I was allowed to go. On going
later to where the Sixth Missouri crossed, I found that they were
under the bank, and had dug in with their hands and bayonets, or
anything in reach, to protect themselves from a vertical fire from
the enemy overhead, who had a heavy force there. With great
difficulty they were withdrawn at night. Next day arrangements
were made to attempt a lodgment below Haines's Bluff: This was to
be done by Steele's command, while the rest of the force attacked
again where we had already tried. During the day locomotives
whistled, and a great noise and fuss went on in our front, and we
supposed that Grant was driving in Pemberton, and expected firing
any moment up the Yazoo or in the rear of Vicksburg. Not hearing
this, we concluded that Pemberton was throwing his forces into
Vicksburg. A heavy fog prevented Steele from making his movement.
Rain began to fall, and our location was not good to be in after a
heavy rain, or with the river rising. During the night (I think)
of January, 1, 1863, our troops were embarked, material and
provisions having been loaded during the day. A short time before
daylight of the 2d, I went by order of the general commanding, to
our picket lines and carefully examined the enemy's lines, wherever
a camp-fire indicated their presence. They were not very vigilant,
and I once got close enough to hear them talk, but could understand
nothing. Early in the morning I came in with the rear-guard, the
enemy advancing his pickets and main guards only, and making no
effort at all to press us. Once I couldn't resist the temptation
to fire into a squad that came bolder than the rest, and the two
shots were good ones. We received a volley in return that did come
very close among us, but hurt none of my party. Very soon after
our rear-guard was aboard, General Sherman learned from Admiral
Porter that McClernand had arrived at the mouth of the Yazoo. He
went, taking me and one other staff-officer, to see McClernand, and
found that, under an order from the President, he had taken command
of the Army of the Mississippi. He and his staff, of whom I only
remember two-Colonels Scates and Braham, assistant adjutant-general
and aide-de-camp--seemed to think they had a big thing, and, so far
as I could judge, they had just that. All hands thought the
country expected them to cut their way to the Gulf; and to us, who
had just come out of the swamp, the cutting didn't seem such an
easy job as to the new-comers. Making due allowance for the
elevation they seemed to feel in view of their job, everything
passed off pleasantly, and we learned that General Grant's
communications had been cut at Holly Springs by the capture of
Murphy and his force (at Holly Springs), and that he was either in
Memphis by that time or would soon be. So that, everything
considered, it was about as well that we did not get our forces on
the bluff's of Walnut Hill."

The above statement was sent to General Sherman in a letter dated
"Chicago, February 5,1876," and signed "John H. Hammond." Hammond
was General Sherman's assistant adjutant-general at the Chickasaw
J. E. TOURTELOTTE, Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

On 29th December, 1862, at Chickasaw Bayou, I was in command of the
Thirty-first Missouri Volunteer Infantry, First Brigade, First
Division, Fifteenth Army Corps (Blair's brigade). Colonel Wyman,
of the Thirteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, having been killed,
I was the senior colonel of the brigade. General Blair rode up to
where my regiment lay, and said to me:

"We are to make a charge here; we will charge in two lines; your
regiment will be in the first line, and the Twenty-ninth
(Cavender's) will support you. Form here in the timber, and move
out across the bayou on a double-quick, and go right on to the top
of the heights in your front." He then told me to await a signal.
I then attempted to make a reconnaissance of the ground over which
we would have to charge, and rode out to the open ground in my
front, and saw that there was water and soft mud in the bayou, and
was fired upon by the sharp-shooters of the enemy, and turned and
went back into the woods where my command lay. Soon after that
General Blair came near me, and I told him there was water and mud
in the bayou, and I doubted if we could get across. He answered me
that General Morgan told him there was no water nor mud to hinder
us. I remarked that I had seen it myself, and General Morgan, or
any one else, could see it if he would risk being shot at pretty
lively. I then told General Blair that it was certain destruction
to us if we passed over the abatis upon the open ground where there
had once been a corn-field; that we could never reach the base of
the hill. He turned to me and said, "Can't you take your regiment
up there?" I told him, "Yes, I can take my regiment anywhere,
because the men do not know any better than to go," but remarked
that old soldiers could not be got to go up there. General Blair
then said, "Tom, if we succeed, this will be a grand thing; you
will have the glory of leading the assault." He then went on to
say that General Morgan's division would support us, and they were
heroes of many battles, and pointed to the Fifty-eighth Ohio, then
forming in the rear of the Thirteenth Illinois on my right, and
said: "See these men? They are a part of Morgan's division, and are
heroes of many battles." I laughingly said that they might be
heroes, but the regiment did not number as many as one of my
companies. He again assured me we would be supported by Morgan's
division, and all I had to do was to keep right on and "keep going
till you get into Vicksburg." I took my position in advance of my
regiment and awaited the signal. When we heard it, we raised a
shout, and started at a double-quick, the Thirteenth Illinois on my
right. I saw no troops on my left. When we emerged from the
woods, the enemy opened upon us; crossing the bayou under fire, and
many of the men sinking in the mud and water, our line was very
much disordered, but we pretty well restored it before reaching the
abatis. Here we were greatly disordered, but somewhat restored the
line on reaching the plateau or corn-field. The Twenty-ninth
Missouri came on, gallantly supporting us. The Thirteenth Illinois
came out upon the corn-field, and the Fifty-eighth Ohio followed
close upon it. There was firing to my left, and as I afterward
learned was from the Fourth Iowa of Thayer's brigade (and I believe
of Steele's division). I was struck and fell, and my regiment went
back in great disorder. The fire was terrific. I saw beyond the
Thirteenth Illinois, to my right, a disordered line, and learned
afterward it was the Sixteenth Ohio. When I was taken from the
field by the enemy and taken into Vicksburg, I found among the
wounded and prisoners men and officers of the Sixteenth and
Fifty-eighth Ohio, and of the Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first
Missouri, and Thirteenth Illinois. After I was exchanged and
joined my command, General Blair laughingly remarked to me that I
had literally obeyed his order and gone "straight on to Vicksburg."
He lamented the cutting to pieces of our force on that day. We
talked the whole matter over at his headquarters during the siege
of Vicksburg. He said that if the charge had been made along our
whole line with the same vigor of attack made by his brigade, and
if we had been supported as Morgan promised to do, we might have
succeeded. I dissented from the opinion that we could even then
have succeeded. I asked him what excuse Morgan gave for failing to
support us, and he said that Colonel or General De Courcey was in
some manner to blame for that, but he said Morgan was mistaken as
to the nature of the ground and generally as to the feasibility of
the whole thing, and was responsible for the failure to afford us
the support he had promised; that he and General Sherman and all of
them were misled by the statements and opinions of Morgan as to the
situation in our front, and Morgan was, on his part, deceived by
the reports of his scouts about other matters as well as the matter
of the water in the bayou.



Extracts from Admiral Porter's Journal.

Sherman and I had made arrangements to capture Arkansas Post.

On the 31st of December, while preparing to go out of the Yazoo, an
army officer called to see me, and said that he belonged to General
McClernand's staff, and that the general was at the mouth of the
Yazoo River, and desired to see me at once. I sent word to the
general that if he wished to see me he could have an opportunity by
calling on board my flag-ship.

A few moments after I had heard the news of McClernand'a arrival, I
saw Sherman pulling about in a boat, and hailed him, informing him
that McClernand was at the mouth of the Yazoo. Sherman then came
on board, and, in consequence of this unexpected news, determined
to postpone the movement out of the Yazoo River, and let McClernand
take that upon himself.

General McClernand took my hint and came on board the flag-ship,
but I soon discovered that any admiral, Grant, Sherman, or all the
generals in the army, were nobody in his estimation. Sherman had
been at McClernand's headquarters to see him and state the
condition of affairs, and he then suggested to the latter the plan
of going to Arkansas Post.

I had a number of fine maps hanging up in my cabin, and when
McClernand came on board he examined them all with the eye of a
connoisseur. He then stated to me as a new thing the plan he
proposed!!! of going to Arkansas Post and stirring up our troops,
which had been "demoralized by the late defeat" (Sherman was
present, looking daggers at him). I answered, "Yes, General
Sherman and myself have already arranged for going to Arkansas
Post." Sherman then made some remark about the disposition of the
troops in the coming expedition, when McClernand gave him rather a
curt answer. McClernand then remarked, "If you will let me have
three gunboats, I will go and take the place." Now General
McClernand had about as much idea of what a gunboat was, or could
do, as the man in the moon. He did not know, the difference
between an ironclad and a "tin-clad." He had heard that gunboats
had taken Fort Henry, and that was all be knew about them. I said
to him: "I'll tell you what I will do, General McClernand. If
General Sherman goes in command of the troops, I will go myself in
command of a proper force, and will insure the capture of the
post." McClernand winced under this, and Sherman quietly walked
off into the after-cabin. He beckoned me to come there, while
McClernand was apparently deeply engaged in studying out a chart,
making believe he was interested, in order to conceal his temper.
Sherman said to me: "Admiral, how could you make such a remark to
McClernand? He hates me already, and you have made him an enemy
for life."

"I don't care," said I; "he shall not treat you rudely in my cabin,
and I was glad of the opportunity of letting him know my
sentiments." By this time, General McClernand having bottled up
his wrath, or cooled down, I went in to him and we discussed the
matter. He consented that Sherman should go in command of the
troops, and the interview ended pleasantly enough.

The above extracts from Admiral Porter's journal were sent by the
admiral to General Sherman, inclosed in a letter dated "Washington,
May 29, 1875," and signed "David D. Porter."


After leaving the Yazoo, the Army of the Mississippi rendezvous was
at Milliken's Bend. During the night of January 4th or 5th,
General McClernand came on board the Forest Queen, and with General
Sherman went to the Black Hawk flag-boat. There an interview took
place, during which the expedition to Arkansas Post took shape.
General Sherman having asked leave to take the post, and Admiral
Porter having decided to go along, McClernand thought best to go
with his entire army, although the enemy were supposed to have only
about four or five thousand men, and the fort was little more than
a large earthwork commanding the river.

General Sherman's command was then entitled the Second Corps, Army
of the Mississippi, and was comprised of the First Division,
Blair's, Hovey's, and Thayer's brigades, commanded by Steele; and
the Second Division, commanded by David Stuart, with Colonels Giles
A. and Kilby Smith commanding brigades.

Our fleet was convoyed by three ironclads and several other
gunboats. The weather was bitterly cold for that latitude; we were
four days getting into the Arkansas River, which we entered by the
White River cut-off; and my recollection is, that our passing the
mouth of the main river deceived the enemy as to our destination.
The entrance through the cut-off was feasible by reason of high
water, and I think made our appearance a surprise to the force at
the post. We disembarked on the morning of the 10th of January.
Stuart's division first encountered the enemy behind an earthwork
about four miles from the fort, running across the solid ground
from the river to a swamp. General Sherman in person took Steele's
division, and followed a road leading to the rear of the earthwork
just mentioned. We had got fairly under way when the rebels fell
back to the fort, and McClernand, coming up, ordered us to fall
back, and march up the river. It seemed to me then, and afterward,
that it would have been better to have marched straight to the rear
of the fort, as we started to do. We soon overtook Stuart and
closed in, General Sherman on the right, Morgan's force on the
left, reaching to the river, where the gunboats were, while Sherman
reached from the road which connected the post with the back
country, toward where the earthworks reached the river above the
fort, and threatened their communications with Little Rock. The
night was cold and cloudy, with some snow. There were a good many
abandoned huts to our rear, but our forces in position lay on the
frozen ground, sheltered as best they could, among the bushes and
timber. We were so close that they could have reached us any time
during the night with light artillery. The gun-boats threw heavy
shells into the fort and behind the earthworks all night, keeping
the enemy awake and anxious. The heavy boom of the artillery was
followed by the squeak, squeak of Admiral Porter's little tug, as
he moved around making his arrangements for the morrow. The sounds
were ridiculous by comparison. General Sherman and staff lay on
the roots of an old oak-tree, that kept them partly clear of mud.
The cold was sharp, my right boot being frozen solid in a puddle in
the morning. About half-past two or three o'clock, General
Sherman, with another and myself, crept in as close as possible and
reconnoitred the position. The general managed to creep in much
closer than the rest of us--in fact, so close as to cause us
anxiety. The enemy worked hard all night on their abatis and
intrenchments, and in the morning we found a ditch and parapet
running clear across the point on which the post was situated.
This point was cut by a road from the back country, across which
was a heavy earthwork and a battery. This road was at the
extremity of our left. General McClernand kept his head-quarters
on his boat, the Tigress. He came up in the morning to a place in
the woods in our rear. One of his staff, a cavalry-officer,
climbed a tree to report movements; but from that point there was
very little to be seen. Between ten and eleven o'clock the fire
opened from the fleet, and we opened along the whole line from
infantry and field-guns. Our men soon worked in close enough to
keep down the fire of the enemy to a very marked degree.

After reporting to General Sherman, and while explaining the
position of the fleet, the smoke-stacks and flags appeared above
the fort. What firing was going on in our immediate front ceased.
A good many rebels were in plain sight, running away from the fort
and scattering. While we were still surprised, the cry was raised
that a white flag was hung out. I did not see it, but in a few
minutes saw others along the line, and just as the general started
for the fort I saw the flag not far from the white house, near the
parapet. Orders were given to cease firing. Captain Dayton was
sent to the fort where the first flag was raised. Some shots were
fired and some men hurt after this. The first rebel officer we
encountered was Colonel or General Garland, commanding brigade, who
was ordered to put his men in line and stack arms, which was done.
I was directed to pass along the line to the right, and cause the
prisoners to stack arms and form our men in line, just outside the
work. This I did till I reached Deshler's brigade, on our extreme
right, or nearly so, and who was opposed to the right of Steele's
force. Steele's men had rushed up to the very foot of the parapet,
and some were on it, though they did not fire. The commander of
the enemy (Deshler) refused to obey my orders to stack arms, and
asked a good many questions as to "how it happened;" said he was
not whipped, but held us in check, etc. I told him there were
eight or nine thousand men right there, that a shot from me, or a
call, would bring down on him, and that we had entire possession of
the place. After sending two officers from the nearest troops to
explain the condition to Steele, and to warn every officer they met
to pass the word for everybody to be on the sharp lookout, I
arranged with Deshler to keep quiet until I could bring his own
commander, or orders from him. Returning to General Sherman, I
found a party of young rebel officers, including Robert Johnston's
son (rebel Senate) and Captain Wolf, quartermaster, of New Orleans,
who declined to surrender except to gentlemen. Some German
Missouri soldiers didn't relish the distinction, and were about
clubbing them over the head, when I interfered and received their
surrender. Hurrying back to the general, I reported the dangerous
condition of things. He and General Churchill, commanding officer
of the enemy, started for Deshler's brigade; meeting Garland, a
quarrel and some recrimination followed between him and Churchill,
as to where the fault of the surrender belonged, which was rather
promptly silenced by General Sherman, who hurried to the scene of
trouble. There, after some ill-natured talk, Deshler ordered his
men to lay down their arms. I rode into the fort, and found the
parapet badly torn up by the fire from the fleet. On going to the
embrasure where I had seen the gun while on the river-bank talking
to Captain Shirk, the piece was found split back about eighteen
inches, and the lower half of the muzzle dropped out. A battered
but unexploded shell lying with the piece explained that it must
have struck the gun in the muzzle, almost squarely. On passing
along the inside I saw from the torn condition of the earthworks
how tremendous our fire was, and how the fire of the enemy was kept
down. The fire of the navy had partly torn down the side of the
fort next the river. A good many sailors were in the fort.
General A. J. Smith, Admiral Porter, and General Burbridge were
there--all in high spirits, but in some contention as to who got in
first. Toward dark, or nearly so, an Arkansas regiment came in as
reenforcements, but surrendered without any trouble. About the
same time General Sherman received orders to put General A. J.
Smith in charge of the fort, and stay outside with his men. As his
troops were nearly all inside, and had four-fifths of the prisoners
in charge, these orders were not very clear, and the general left
for headquarters to find out what was meant. I went on collecting
arms, and as our men were scattering a good deal and were greatly
excited, I took the precaution to pass along the line and march the
prisoners far enough from the stacked arms to be out of temptation.
I was especially urged to this by hearing several rebel officers
speak of their guns being still loaded. It was dark before all the
prisoners were collected and under guard, including the regiment
that arrived after the fight. I am confident that all the
prisoners were under guard by General Sherman's troops.

Everything being secure, the staff-officers, all of whom had been
busily engaged, scattered to compare notes and enjoy the victory.
I found my way onboard the Tigress, where every one was greatly
excited, and in high feather regarding our victory, the biggest
thing since Donelson. I also obtained some food and small comforts
for a few rebel officers, including young Johnston, Wolfe, and the
Colonel Deshler already mentioned. Then hunted up General Sherman,
whom I found sitting on a cracker-boa in the white house already
mentioned, near where the white flag first appeared. Garland was
with him, and slept with him that night, while the rest of us laid
around wherever we could. It was a gloomy, bloody house, and
suggestive of war. Garland was blamed by the other Confederate
officers for the white flag, and remained with us for safety. Next
day was very cold. We worked hard at the lists of prisoners--
nearly five thousand in number--all of whom were sent to St. Louis,
in charge of our inspector-general, Major Sanger. Our loss was
less than one hundred. The enemy, although behind intrenchments,
lost more than double what we did. Their wounded were much worse
hurt than ours, who were mostly hit around the head and arms.

The losses were nearly all in General Sherman's wing of the army.
The loss in the fleet amounted to little, but their service was
very valuable, and deserved great credit, though they received
little. There was a good deal of sympathy between our part of the
forces and the fleet people, and I then thought, and still think,
if we had been on the left next the river, that in connection with
the tremendous fire from the navy, we could have carried the work
in an hour after we opened on it. Their missiles traversed the
whole fortification, clear through to the hospitals at the upper
end, and I stood five minutes in rifle-range of the fort next the
river--not hit, and but seldom shot at, and no one hit near me.

On the 18th we embarked, in a snow-storm; collected at Napoleon,
which seemed to be washing away; and steamed to Milliken's Bend,
were we arrived on January 21st, and soon after went to Young's
plantation, near Vicksburg.

The above statement from General Hammond was received by General
Sherman, inclosed in a letter dated "Chicago, February 5, 1876" and
signed "John H. Hammond," who was adjutant-general to General
Sherman during the winter of 1862-'83.


CINCINNATI, February 3, 1876

MY DEAR GENERAL: At Arkansas Post the troops debarked from steamer
January 9th, from one o'clock to dark, in the vicinity of Notrib's
farm, and on the 10th moved out to get position; Steele to the
right, crossing the low ground to the north, to get a higher
ground, avoid crowding the moving columns, and gain the left (our
right) and rear of the "post," and the river-bank above the post.
Stuart took the river-road the movement commencing at 11 o'clock
a.m.. After crossing the low ground covered with water, you were
called back with Steele, as Stuart had driven out the enemy's
rifle-trench pickets, this giving more and feasible room for
moving. Stuart was pushed forward, and by dark he and Steele were
well up to their expected positions. Before daylight on the 11th
you directed me to accompany you for a personal inspection of the
ground to your front, which we made on foot, going so far forward
that we could easily hear the enemy at work and moving about.
Discovering the open fields, you at once directed Steele to move to
the right and front, and pushed Stuart out so as to fully command
them and the field-work of the enemy extending from the fort, to
prevent farther strengthening, as it was evident these works were
the product of a recent thought. Stuart and Steele were prompt in
taking position, but Morgan's command (not under your control) did
not seem to work up, or keep in junction with you. At ten o'clock
you sent me to McClernand to ascertain why the delay of attack. He
attributed it to Admiral Porter, which was really unjust. The
attack began at 1 p.m., by Admiral Porter, and the sound of his
first gun had not died till your men were engaged--Wood's,
Barrett's, and the Parrott batteries and infantry. It was lively
for a time, and Stuart pushed clear up to the enemy's rifle-
trenches, and forced them to keep sheltered. Hammond was mostly
with Steele; Sanger sent to McClernand, and McCoy, myself, and John
Taylor were with you and Stuart. At about half-past three I got
your permission to go to Giles Smith's skirmish-line, and, thinking
I saw evidence of the enemy weakening, I hurried back to you and
reported my observations. I was so confident that a demand for it
would bring a surrender, that I asked permission to make it, and,
as you granted me, but refused to let another member of your staff,
at his request, go with me, I rode directly down the road with only
an orderly. Colonel Garland, commanding a brigade, was the first
officer I saw, to whom, for you, I made the demand. All firing
ceased at once, or in a few moments. I sent the orderly back to
you, and you rode forward. It was then four o'clock.

During the attack, nobody seemed to think McClernand had any clear
idea of what or how it was to be done. During the day he gave you
no directions, nor came where you were; he was well to the rear,
with his "man up a tree," who in the capacity of a lookout gave
McClernand information, from which he based such instructions as he
made to his subordinates. He was free to express himself as being
a man of "destiny," and his "star" was in the ascendance. I am,

L. M. DAYTON, late Colonel of the Staff, now of Cincinnati, Ohio.

General W. T. SHERMAN.


[Special Field Orders, No. 11.]

MEMPHIS, January 27, 1864

V. The expedition is one of celerity, and all things must tend to
that. Corps commanders and staff-officers will see that our
movements are not encumbered by wheeled vehicles improperly loaded.
Not a tent, from the commander-in-chief down, will be carried. The
sick will be left behind, and the surgeons can find houses and
sheds for all hospital purposes.

VI. All the cavalry in this department is placed under the orders
and command of Brigadier-General W. S. Smith, who will receive
special instructions.

By order of Major-General W. T. SHERMAN

L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

NOTE.-That same evening I started in a steamboat for Vicksburg.
W. T. S.
St. Louis, 1885.

MEMPHIS, January 27, 1864

Brigadier-General W. S. SMITH, commanding Cavalry, etc., present.

DEAR GENERAL: By an order issued this day I have placed all the
cavalry of this department subject to your command. I estimate you
can make a force of full seven thousand men, which I believe to be
superior and better in all respects than the combined cavalry which
the enemy has in all the State of Mississippi. I will in person
start for Vicksburg to-day, and with four divisions of infantry,
artillery, and cavalry move out for Jackson, Brandon, and Meridian,
aiming to reach the latter place by February 10th. General Banks
will feign on Pascagoula and General Logan on Rome. I want you
with your cavalry to move from Colliersville on Pontotoc and
Okolona; thence sweeping down near the Mobile & Ohio Railroad,
disable that road as much as possible, consume or destroy the
resources of the enemy along that road, break up the connection
with Columbus, Mississippi, and finally reach me at or near
Meridian as near the date I have mentioned as possible. This will
call for great energy of action on your part, but I believe you are
equal to it, and you have the best and most experienced troops in
the service, and they will do anything that is possible. General
Grierson is with you, and is familiar with the whole country. I
will send up from Haines's Bluff an expedition of gunboats and
transports combined, to feel up the Yazoo as far as the present
water will permit. This will disconcert the enemy. My movement on
Jackson will also divide the enemy, so that by no combination can
he reach you with but a part of his force. I wish you to attack
any force of cavalry you meet and follow them southward, but in no
event be drawn into the forks of the streams that make up the Yazoo
nor over into Alabama. Do not let the enemy draw you into minor
affairs, but look solely to the greater object to destroy his
communication from Okolona to Meridian, and thence eastward to
Selma. From Okolona south you will find abundance of forage
collected along the railroad, and the farmers have corn standing in
the fields. Take liberally of all these, as well as horses, mules,
cattle, etc. As a rule, respect dwellings and families as
something too sacred to be disturbed by soldiers, but mills, barns,
sheds, stables, and such like things use for the benefit or
convenience of your command. If convenient, send into Columbus,
Mississippi, and destroy all machinery there, and the bridge across
the Tombigbee, which enables the enemy to draw the resources of the
east side of the valley, but this is not of sufficient importance
to delay your movement. Try and communicate with me by scouts and
spies from the time you reach Pontotoc. Avoid any large force of
infantry, leaving them to me. We have talked over this matter so
much that the above covers all points not provided for in my
published orders of to-day. I am, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Mayor-General, commanding.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, January 27, 1864.

Brigadier-General J. P. HATCH, in charge of Cavalry Bureau, St.
Louis, Missouri.

SIR: Your favor of the 21st inst. is just received. Up to the
present time eight hundred and eighteen horses have arrived here
since Captain Hudson's visit to St. Louis. I wrote you upon his
return several days ago that it would not be necessary to divert
shipments to this point which could not reach us before February
1st. We shall certainly get off on our contemplated expedition
before that time. The number of horses estimated for in this
department by its chief quartermaster was two thousand, and this
number, including those already sent, will, I think, completely
mount all the dismounted cavalry of this department. Recruits for
cavalry regiments are arriving freely, and this will swell our
requisitions for a couple of months to come. I will as far as
possible procure horses from the regions of country traversed by
our cavalry.

Yours truly, W. SOOY SMITH, Brigadier-General,

Chief of Cavalry, Military Division of the Mississippi.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, January 28, 1864

Brigadier-General GEORGE CROOK, commanding Second Cavalry Division,
Huntsville, Alabama.

I start in about three days with seven, thousand men to Meridian
via Pontotoc. Demonstrate on Decatur, to hold Roddy.

W. SOOY SMITH, Brigadier-General,
Chief of Cavalry, Military Division of the Mississippi.

General W. T. SHERMAN, Commander-in-Chief, United States Army.

SIR: Your letter of July 7th is just received.

Your entire statement in the "Memoirs" concerning my part in the
Meridian campaign is incorrect.

You overstate my strength, placing it at seven thousand effective,
when it was but six. The nominal strength of my command was seven

You understate the strength of my enemy, putting Forrest's force at
four thousand. On our return to Nashville, you stated it, in
General Grant's presence, to have been but twenty-five hundred.
Before and during my movement I positively knew Forrest's strength
to be full six thousand, and he has since told me so himself.

Instead of delaying from the 1st to the 11th of February for "some
regiment that was ice-bound near Columbus, Kentucky," it was an
entire brigade, Colonel Waring's, without which your orders to me
were peremptory not to move. I asked you if I should wait its
arrival, and you answered: "Certainly; if you go without it, you
will be, too weak, and I want you strong enough to go where you

The time set for our arrival at Meridian, the 10th of February, had
arrived before it was possible for me, under your orders, to move
from Memphis, and I would have been entirely justifiable if I had
not started at all. But I was at that time, and at all times
during the war, as earnest and anxious to carry out my orders, and
do my full duty as you or any other officer could be, and I set out
to make a march of two hundred and fifty miles into the
Confederacy, having to drive back a rebel force equal to my own.
After the time had arrived for the full completion of my movement,
I drove this force before me, and penetrated one hundred and sixty
miles into the Confederacy--did more hard fighting, and killed,
wounded, and captured more of the enemy than you did during the
campaign--did my work most thoroughly, as far as I could go without
encountering the rebel cavalry set loose by your return from
Meridian, and brought off my command, with all the captured
property and rescued negroes, with very small loss, considering
that inflicted on the enemy, and the long-continued and very severe
fighting. If I had disobeyed your orders, and started without
Waring's brigade, I would have been "too weak," would probably have
been defeated, and would have been subjected to just censure.
Having awaited its arrival, as I was positively and distinctly
ordered to do, it only remained for me to start upon its arrival,
and accomplish all that I could of the work allotted to me. To
have attempted to penetrate farther into the enemy's country, with
the cavalry of Polk's army coming up to reenforce Forrest, would
have insured the destruction of my entire command, situated as it
was. I cannot now go into all the particulars, though I assure you
that they make the proof of the correctness of my conduct as
conclusive as I could desire it to be. I was not headed off and
defeated by an inferior force near West Point. We had the fighting
all our own way near West Point, and at all other points except at
Okalona, on our return, when we had the worst of it for a little
while, but finally checked the enemy handsomely, and continued our
return march, fighting at the rear and on both flanks, repulsing
all attacks and moving in perfect order. And so my movement was
not a failure, except that I did not reach Meridian as intended,
for the reason stated, and for many more which it is not necessary
for me to detail here. On the other hand, it was a very decided
success, inflicting a terrible destruction of supplies of every
kind, and a heavy loss of men upon the enemy. You should have so
reported it in the beginning. You should so amend your report, and
"Memoirs" now. This, and no less than this, is due from one
soldier to another. It is due to the exalted position which you
occupy, and, above all, it is due to that truthfulness in history
which you claim to revere. If you desire it, I will endeavor to
visit you, and in a friendly manner "fight our battles o'er again,"
and endeavor to convince you that you have always been mistaken as
to the manner in which my part in the "Meridian campaign" was
performed. But I will never rest until the wrong statements
regarding it are fully and fairly corrected. Yours truly,


St. Louis, Missouri, July 11, 1875.

General J. D. WEBSTER, Chicago, Illinois

DEAR GENERAL: General W. Sooy Smith feels aggrieved and wronged by
my account of his part in the Meridian campaign, in my "Memoirs,"
pages 394, 395, and properly appeals to me for correction. I have
offered to modify any words or form of expression that he may point
out, but he asks me to completely change the whole that concerns
him. This, of course, I will not do, as his part was material to
the whole, and cannot be omitted or materially altered without
changing the remainder, for his failure to reach Meridian by
February 10th was the reason for other movements distant from him.
I now offer him, what seems to me fair and liberal, that we submit
the points at issue to you as arbitrator. You are familiar with
the ground, the coincident history, and most, if not all, the

I propose to supply you with

1. Copy of my orders placing all the cavalry under General Smith's
orders (with returns).

2. My letter of instructions to him of January 27th.

3. My official report of the campaign, dated Vicksburg, March 7,

4. General W. Sooy Smith's report of his operations, dated
Nashville, Tennessee, March 4, 1864.

After reading these, I further propose that you address us
questions which we will answer in writing, when you are to make us
a concise, written decision, which I will have published in close
connection with the subject in controversy. If General Smith will
show you my letter to him of this date, and also deliver this with
his written assent, I will promptly furnish you the above
documents, and also procure from the official files a return of the
cavalry force available at and near Memphis on the date of my
orders, viz., January 27, 1864.

With great respect, your friend and servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, General.

NOTE:--General Smith never submitted his case to the arbitration
offered. The whole will be made clear by the publication of the
official records, which are already in print, though not yet
issued. His orders were in writing, and I have no recollection of
the "peremptory" verbal orders to which he refers, and quotes as
from me.

ST. Louis, Missouri, 1895. W. T. S.

MAYWOOD, ILLINOIS, July 14, 1875.

General W. T. SHERMAN, Commander-in-Chief, etc.

DEAR GENERAL: Your letter of the 11th of July reaches me just as I
am starting to spend the first vacation I have ever allowed myself
--in the Territories, with my wife and son.

It indicates a spirit of fairness from which we have better things
than an arbitration to hope for. Though, if we should reach such a
necessity, there is no one living to whom our differences might
more properly be referred than to General Webster. I make no
objection to your writing your "Memoirs," and, as long as they
refer to your own conduct, you are at liberty to write them as you
like; but, when they refer to mine, and deal unjustly with my
reputation, I, of right, object.

Neither do I wish to write my "Memoirs," unless compelled to do so
to vindicate my good name. There were certain commands which were
to make up mine. These, Waring's brigade included, were spoken of
by us in the long conversation to which you refer. This brigade we
knew was having a hard time of it in its movement from Columbus to
Memphis. I asked you if I should move without it if it did not
arrive, and you answered me as stated in my last letter to you.
Those who immediately surrounded me during the painful delay that
occurred will inform you how sorely I chafed under the restraint of
that peremptory order.

In the conversation that occurred between us at Nashville, while
all the orders, written and verbal, were still fresh in your
memory, you did not censure me for waiting for Waring, but for
allowing myself to be encumbered with fugitive negroes to such an
extent that my command was measurably unfit for active movement or
easy handling, and for turning back from West Point, instead of
pressing on toward Meridian. Invitations had been industriously
circulated, by printed circulars and otherwise, to the negroes to
come into our lines, and to seek our protection wherever they could
find it, and I considered ourselves pledged to receive and protect
them. Your censure for so doing, and your remarks on that subject
to me in Nashville, are still fresh in my memory, and of a
character which you would now doubtless gladly disavow.

But we must meet and talk the whole matter over, and I will be at
any trouble to see you when I return.

Meantime I will not let go the hope that I will convince you
absolutely of your error, for the facts are entirely on my side.
Yours truly,



By William T. Sherman





On the 18th day of March, 1864, at Nashville, Tennessee, I relieved
Lieutenant-General Grant in command of the Military Division of the
Mississippi, embracing the Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland,
Tennessee, and Arkansas, commanded respectively by Major-Generals
Schofield, Thomas, McPherson, and Steele. General Grant was in the
act of starting East to assume command of all the armies of the
United States, but more particularly to give direction in person to
the Armies of the Potomac and James, operating against Richmond;
and I accompanied him as far as Cincinnati on his way, to avail
myself of the opportunity to discuss privately many little details
incident to the contemplated changes, and of preparation for the
great events then impending. Among these was the intended
assignment to duty of many officers of note and influence, who had,
by the force of events, drifted into inactivity and discontent.
Among these stood prominent Generals McClellan, Burnside, and
Fremont, in, the East; and Generals Buell, McCook, Negley, and
Crittenden, at the West. My understanding was that General Grant
thought it wise and prudent to give all these officers appropriate
commands, that would enable them to regain the influence they had
lost; and, as a general reorganization of all the armies was then
necessary, he directed me to keep in mind especially the claims of
Generals Buell, McCook, and Crittenden, and endeavor to give them
commands that would be as near their rank and dates of commission
as possible; but I was to do nothing until I heard further from
him on the subject, as he explained that he would have to consult
the Secretary of War before making final orders. General Buell and
his officers had been subjected to a long ordeal by a court of
inquiry, touching their conduct of the campaign in Tennessee and
Kentucky, that resulted in the battle of Perryville, or Chaplin's
Hills, October 8,1862, and they had been substantially acquitted;
and, as it was manifest that we were to have some hard fighting, we
were anxious to bring into harmony every man and every officer of
skill in the profession of arms. Of these, Generals Buell and
McClellan were prominent in rank, and also by reason of their fame
acquired in Mexico, as well as in the earlier part of the civil

After my return to Nashville I addressed myself to the task of
organization and preparation, which involved the general security
of the vast region of the South which had been already conquered,
more especially the several routes of supply and communication with
the active armies at the front, and to organize a large army to
move into Georgia, coincident with the advance of the Eastern
armies against Richmond. I soon received from Colonel J. B. Fry--
now of the Adjutant-General's Department, but then at Washington in
charge of the Provost-Marshal-General's office--a letter asking me
to do something for General Buell. I answered him frankly, telling
him of my understanding with General Grant, and that I was still
awaiting the expected order of the War Department, assigning
General Buell to my command. Colonel Fry, as General Buell's
special friend, replied that he was very anxious that I should make
specific application for the services of General Buell by name, and
inquired what I proposed to offer him. To this I answered that,
after the agreement with General Grant that he would notify me from
Washington, I could not with propriety press the matter, but if
General Buell should be assigned to me specifically I was prepared
to assign him to command all the troops on the Mississippi River
from Cairo to Natchez, comprising about three divisions, or the
equivalent of a corps d'armee. General Grant never afterward
communicated to me on the subject at all; and I inferred that Mr.
Stanton, who was notoriously vindictive in his prejudices, would
not consent to the employment of these high officers. General
Buell, toward the close of the war, published a bitter political
letter, aimed at General Grant, reflecting on his general
management of the war, and stated that both Generals Canby and
Sherman had offered him a subordinate command, which he had
declined because he had once outranked us. This was not true as to
me, or Canby either, I think, for both General Canby and I ranked
him at West Point and in the old army, and he (General Buell) was
only superior to us in the date of his commission as major-general,
for a short period in 1862. This newspaper communication, though
aimed at General Grant, reacted on himself, for it closed his
military career. General Crittenden afterward obtained authority
for service, and I offered him a division, but he declined it for
the reason, as I understood it, that he had at one time commanded a
corps. He is now in the United States service, commanding the
Seventeenth Infantry. General McCook obtained a command under
General Canby, in the Department of the Gulf, where he rendered
good service, and he is also in the regular service, lieutenant-
colonel Tenth Infantry.

I returned to Nashville from Cincinnati about the 25th of March,
and started at once, in a special car attached to the regular
train, to inspect my command at the front, going to Pulaski,
Tennessee, where I found General G. M. Dodge; thence to Huntsville,
Alabama, where I had left a part of my personal staff and the
records of the department during the time we had been absent at
Meridian; and there I found General McPherson, who had arrived from
Vicksburg, and had assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee.
General McPherson accompanied me, and we proceeded by the cars to
Stevenson, Bridgeport, etc., to Chattanooga, where we spent a day
or two with General George H. Thomas, and then continued on to
Knoxville, where was General Schofield. He returned with us to
Chattanooga, stopping by the way a few hours at Loudon, where were
the headquarters of the Fourth Corps (Major-General Gordon
Granger). General Granger, as usual, was full of complaints at the
treatment of his corps since I had left him with General Burnside,
at Knoxville, the preceding November; and he stated to me
personally that he had a leave of absence in his pocket, of which
he intended to take advantage very soon. About the end of March,
therefore, the three army commanders and myself were together at
Chattanooga. We had nothing like a council of war, but conversed
freely and frankly on all matters of interest then in progress or
impending. We all knew that, as soon as the spring was fairly
open, we should have to move directly against our antagonist,
General Jos. E. Johnston, then securely intrenched at Dalton,
thirty miles distant; and the purpose of our conference at the time
was to ascertain our own resources, and to distribute to each part
of the army its appropriate share of work. We discussed every
possible contingency likely to arise, and I simply instructed each
army commander to make immediate preparations for a hard campaign,
regulating the distribution of supplies that were coming up by rail
from Nashville as equitably as possible. We also agreed on some
subordinate changes in the organization of the three separate
armies which were destined to take the field; among which was the
consolidation of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps (Howard and Slocum)
into a single corps, to be commanded by General Jos. Hooker.
General Howard was to be transferred to the Fourth Corps, vice
Gordon Granger to avail himself of his leave of absence; and
General Slocum was to be ordered down the Mississippi River, to
command the District of Vicksburg. These changes required the
consent of the President, and were all in due time approved.

The great question of the campaign was one of supplies. Nashville,
our chief depot, was itself partially in a hostile country, and
even the routes of supply from Louisville to Nashville by rail, and
by way of the Cumberland River, had to be guarded. Chattanooga
(our starting-point) was one hundred and thirty-six miles in front
of Nashville, and every foot of the way, especially the many
bridges, trestles, and culverts, had to be strongly guarded against
the acts of a local hostile population and of the enemy's cavalry.
Then, of course, as we advanced into Georgia, it was manifest that
we should have to repair the railroad, use it, and guard it like-
wise: General Thomas's army was much the largest of the three, was
best provided, and contained the best corps of engineers, railroad
managers, and repair parties, as well as the best body of spies and
provost-marshals. On him we were therefore compelled in a great
measure to rely for these most useful branches of service. He had
so long exercised absolute command and control over the railroads
in his department, that the other armies were jealous, and these
thought the Army of the Cumberland got the lion's share of the
supplies and other advantages of the railroads. I found a good
deal of feeling in the Army of the Tennessee on this score, and
therefore took supreme control of the roads myself, placed all the
army commanders on an equal footing, and gave to each the same
control, so far as orders of transportation for men and stores were
concerned. Thomas's spies brought him frequent and accurate
reports of Jos. E. Johnston's army at Dalton, giving its strength
anywhere between forty and fifty thousand men, and these were being
reenforced by troops from Mississippi, and by the Georgia militia,
under General G. W. Smith. General Johnston seemed to be acting
purely on the defensive, so that we had time and leisure to take
all our measures deliberately and fully. I fixed the date of May
1st, when all things should be in readiness for the grand forward
movement, and then returned to Nashville; General Schofield going
back to Knoxville, and McPherson to Huntsville, Thomas remaining at

On the 2d of April, at Nashville, I wrote to General Grant, then at
Washington, reporting to him the results of my visit to the several
armies, and asked his consent to the several changes proposed,
which was promptly given by telegraph. I then addressed myself
specially to the troublesome question of transportation and
supplies. I found the capacity of the railroads from Nashville
forward to Decatur, and to Chattanooga, so small, especially in the
number of locomotives and care, that it was clear that they were
barely able to supply the daily wants of the armies then dependent
on them, with no power of accumulating a surplus in advance. The
cars were daily loaded down with men returning from furlough, with
cattle, horses, etc.; and, by reason of the previous desolation of
the country between Chattanooga and Knoxville, General Thomas had
authorized the issue of provisions to the suffering inhabitants.

We could not attempt an advance into Georgia without food,
ammunition, etc.; and ordinary prudence dictated that we should
have an accumulation at the front, in case of interruption to the
railway by the act of the enemy, or by common accident.
Accordingly, on the 6th of April, I issued a general order,
limiting the use of the railroad-cars to transporting only the
essential articles of food, ammunition, and supplies for the army
proper, forbidding any further issues to citizens, and cutting off
all civil traffic; requiring the commanders of posts within thirty
miles of Nashville to haul out their own stores in wagons;
requiring all troops destined for the front to march, and all beef-
cattle to be driven on their own legs. This was a great help, but
of course it naturally raised a howl. Some of the poor Union
people of East Tennessee appealed to President Lincoln, whose kind
heart responded promptly to their request. He telegraphed me to
know if I could not modify or repeal my orders; but I answered him
that a great campaign was impending, on which the fate of the
nation hung; that our railroads had but a limited capacity, and
could not provide for the necessities of the army and of the people
too; that one or the other must quit, and we could not until the
army of Jos. Johnston was conquered, etc., etc. Mr. Lincoln seemed
to acquiesce, and I advised the people to obtain and drive out
cattle from Kentucky, and to haul out their supplies by the wagon-
road from the same quarter, by way of Cumberland Gap. By these
changes we nearly or quite doubled our daily accumulation of stores
at the front, and yet even this was not found enough.

I accordingly called together in Nashville the master of
transportation, Colonel Anderson, the chief quartermaster, General
J. L. Donaldson, and the chief commissary, General Amos Beckwith,
for conference. I assumed the strength of the army to move from
Chattanooga into Georgia at one hundred thousand men, and the
number of animals to be fed, both for cavalry and draught, at
thirty-five thousand; then, allowing for occasional wrecks of
trains, which were very common, and for the interruption of the
road itself by guerrillas and regular raids, we estimated it would
require one hundred and thirty cars, of ten tons each, to reach
Chattanooga daily, to be reasonably certain of an adequate supply.
Even with this calculation, we could not afford to bring forward
hay for the horses and mules, nor more than five pounds of oats or
corn per day for each animal. I was willing to risk the question
of forage in part, because I expected to find wheat and corn
fields, and a good deal of grass, as we advanced into Georgia at
that season of the year. The problem then was to deliver at
Chattanooga and beyond one hundred and thirty car-loads daily,
leaving the beef-cattle to be driven on the hoof, and all the
troops in excess of the usual train-guards to march by the ordinary
roads. Colonel Anderson promptly explained that he did not possess
cars or locomotives enough to do this work. I then instructed and
authorized him to hold on to all trains that arrived at Nashville
from Louisville, and to allow none to go back until he had secured
enough to fill the requirements of our problem. At the time he
only had about sixty serviceable locomotives, and about six hundred
cars of all kinds, and he represented that to provide for all
contingencies he must have at least one hundred locomotives and one
thousand cars. As soon as Mr. Guthrie, the President of the
Louisville & Nashville Railroad, detected that we were holding on
to all his locomotives and cars, he wrote me, earnestly
remonstrating against it, saying that he would not be able with
diminished stock to bring forward the necessary stores from
Louisville to Nashville. I wrote to him, frankly telling him
exactly how we were placed, appealed to his patriotism to stand by
us, and advised him in like manner to hold on to all trains coming
into Jeffersonville, Indiana. He and General Robert Allen, then
quartermaster-general at Louisville, arranged a ferry-boat so as to
transfer the trains over the Ohio River from Jeffersonville, and in
a short time we had cars and locomotives from almost every road at
the North; months afterward I was amused to see, away down in
Georgia, cars marked "Pittsburg & Fort Wayne," "Delaware &
Lackawanna," "Baltimore & Ohio," and indeed with the names of
almost every railroad north of the Ohio River. How these railroad
companies ever recovered their property, or settled their
transportation accounts, I have never heard, but to this fact, as
much as to any other single fact, I attribute the perfect success
which afterward attended our campaigns; and I have always felt
grateful to Mr. Guthrie, of Louisville, who had sense enough and
patriotism enough to subordinate the interests of his railroad
company to the cause of his country.

About this time, viz., the early part of April, I was much
disturbed by a bold raid made by the rebel General Forrest up
between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. He reached the Ohio
River at Paducah, but was handsomely repulsed by Colonel Hicks. He
then swung down toward Memphis, assaulted and carried Fort Pillow,
massacring a part of its garrison, composed wholly of negro troops.
At first I discredited the story of the massacre, because, in
preparing for the Meridian campaign, I had ordered Fort Pillow to
be evacuated, but it transpired afterward that General Hurlbut had
retained a small garrison at Fort Pillow to encourage the
enlistment of the blacks as soldiers, which was a favorite
political policy at that day. The massacre at Fort Pillow occurred
April 12, 1864, and has been the subject of congressional inquiry.
No doubt Forrest's men acted like a set of barbarians, shooting
down the helpless negro garrison after the fort was in their
possession; but I am told that Forrest personally disclaims any
active participation in the assault, and that he stopped the firing
as soon as he could. I also take it for granted that Forrest did
not lead the assault in person, and consequently that he was to the
rear, out of sight if not of hearing at the time, and I was told by
hundreds of our men, who were at various times prisoners in
Forrest's possession, that he was usually very kind to them. He
had a desperate set of fellows under him, and at that very time
there is no doubt the feeling of the Southern people was fearfully
savage on this very point of our making soldiers out of their late
slaves, and Forrest may have shared the feeling.

I also had another serious cause of disturbance about that time. I
wanted badly the two divisions of troops which had been loaned to
General Banks in the month of March previously, with the express
understanding that their absence was to endure only one month, and
that during April they were to come out of Red River, and be again
within the sphere of my command. I accordingly instructed one of
my inspector-generals, John M. Corse, to take a fleet steamboat at
Nashville, proceed via Cairo, Memphis, and Vicksburg, to General
Banks up the Red River, and to deliver the following letter of
April 3d, as also others, of like tenor, to Generals A. J. Smith
and Fred Steele, who were supposed to be with him:


Major-General N. P. BANKS, commanding Department of the Gulf, Red

GENERAL: The thirty days for which I loaned you the command of
General A. J. Smith will expire on the 10th instant. I send with
this Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, to carry orders to General A.
J. Smith, and to give directions for a new movement, which is
preliminary to the general campaign. General Corse may see you and
explain in full, but, lest he should not find you in person, I will
simply state that Forrest, availing himself of the absence of our
furloughed men and of the detachment with you, has pushed up
between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, even to the Ohio. He
attacked Paducah, but got the worst of it, and he still lingers
about the place. I hope that he will remain thereabouts till
General A. J. Smith can reach his destined point, but this I can
hardly expect; yet I want him to reach by the Yazoo a position near
Grenada, thence to operate against Forrest, after which to march
across to Decatur, Alabama. You will see that he has a big job,
and therefore should start at once. From all that I can learn, my
troops reached Alexandria, Louisiana, at the time agreed on, viz.,
March 17th, and I hear of them at Natchitoches, but cannot hear of
your troops being above Opelousas.

Steele is also moving. I leave Steele's entire force to cooperate
with you and the navy, but, as I before stated, I must have A. T.
Smith's troops now as soon as possible.

I beg you will expedite their return to Vicksburg, if they have not
already started, and I want them if possible to remain in the same
boats they have used up Red River, as it will save the time
otherwise consumed in transfer to other boats.

All is well in this quarter, and I hope by the time you turn
against Mobile our forces will again act toward the same end,
though from distant points. General Grant, now having lawful
control, will doubtless see that all minor objects are disregarded,
and that all the armies act on a common plan.

Hoping, when this reaches you, that you will be in possession of
Shreveport, I am, with great respect, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

Rumors were reaching us thick and fast of defeat and disaster in
that quarter; and I feared then, what afterward actually happened,
that neither General Banks nor Admiral Porter could or would spare
those two divisions. On the 23d of April, General Corse returned,
bringing full answers to my letters, and I saw that we must go on
without them. This was a serious loss to the Army of the
Tennessee, which was also short by two other divisions that were on
their veteran furlough, and were under orders to rendezvous at
Cairo, before embarking for Clifton, on the Tennessee River.

On the 10th of April, 1864, the headquarters of the three Armies of
the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio, were at Chattanooga.,
Huntsville, and Knoxville, and the tables on page 16, et seq., give
their exact condition and strength.

The Department of the Arkansas was then subject to my command, but
General Fred Steele, its commander, was at Little Rock, remote from
me, acting in cooperation with General Banks, and had full
employment for every soldier of his command; so that I never
depended on him for any men, or for any participation in the
Georgia campaign. Soon after, viz., May 8th, that department was
transferred to the Military Division of "the Gulf," or "Southwest,"
Major-General E. R. S. Canby commanding, and General Steele served
with him in the subsequent movement against Mobile.

In Generals Thomas, McPherson, and Schofield, I had three generals
of education and experience, admirably qualified for the work
before us. Each has made a history of his own, and I need not here
dwell on their respective merits as men, or as commanders of
armies, except that each possessed special qualities of mind and of
character which fitted them in the highest degree for the work then
in contemplation.

By the returns of April 10, 1864, it will be seen that the
Army of the Cumberland had on its muster-rolls--
Present and absent...................171,450
Present for duty..................... 88,883

The Army of the Tennessee--
Present and absent....................134,763
Present for duty...................... 64,957

The Army of the Ohio--
Present and absent ................... 46,052
Present for duty ..................... 26,242

The department and army commanders had to maintain strong garrisons
in their respective departments, and also to guard their respective
lines of supply. I therefore, in my mind, aimed to prepare out of
these three armies, by the 1st of May, 1864, a compact army for
active operations in Georgia, of about the following numbers:

Army of the Cumberland................ 50,000
Army of the Tennessee................. 35,000
Army of the Ohio ..................... 15,000

Total ............................... 100,000

and, to make these troops as mobile as possible, I made the
strictest possible orders in relation to wagons and all species of
incumbrances and impedimenta whatever. Each officer and soldier
was required to carry on his horse or person food and clothing
enough for five days. To each regiment was allowed but one wagon
and one ambulance, and to the officers of each company one pack
horse or mule.

Each division and brigade was provided a fair proportion of wagons
for a supply train, and these were limited in their loads to carry
food, ammunition, and clothing. Tents were forbidden to all save
the sick and wounded, and one tent only was allowed to each
headquarters for use as an office. These orders were not
absolutely enforced, though in person I set the example, and did
not have a tent, nor did any officer about me have one; but we had
wall tent-flies, without poles, and no tent-furniture of any kind.
We usually spread our flies over saplings, or on fence-rails or
posts improvised on the spot. Most of the general officers, except
Thomas, followed my example strictly; but he had a regular
headquarters-camp. I frequently called his attention to the orders
on this subject, rather jestingly than seriously. He would break
out against his officers for having such luxuries, but, needing a
tent himself, and being good-natured and slow to act, he never
enforced my orders perfectly. In addition to his regular
wagon-train, he had a big wagon which could be converted into an
office, and this we used to call "Thomas's circus." Several times
during the campaign I found quartermasters hid away in some
comfortable nook to the rear, with tents and mess-fixtures which
were the envy of the passing soldiers; and I frequently broke them
up, and distributed the tents to the surgeons of brigades. Yet my
orders actually reduced the transportation, so that I doubt if any
army ever went forth to battle with fewer impedimenta, and where
the regular and necessary supplies of food, ammunition, and
clothing, were issued, as called for, so regularly and so well.

My personal staff was then composed of Captain J. C. McCoy,
aide-de-camp; Captain L. M. Dayton, aide-de-camp; Captain J. C.
Audenried, aide-de-camp; Brigadier-General J. D. Webster, chief of
staff; Major R. M. Sawyer, assistant adjutant-general; Captain
Montgomery Rochester, assistant adjutant-general. These last three
were left at Nashville in charge of the office, and were empowered
to give orders in my name, communication being generally kept up by

Subsequently were added to my staff, and accompanied me in the
field, Brigadier-General W. F. Barry, chief of artillery; Colonel
O. M. Poe, chief of engineers; Colonel L. C. Easton, chief
quartermaster; Colonel Amos Beckwith, chief commissary; Captain
Thos. G. Baylor, chief of ordnance; Surgeon E. D. Kittoe, medical
director; Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, inspector-general;
Lieutenant-Colonel C. Ewing, inspector-general; and Lieutenant-
Colonel Willard Warner, inspector-general.

These officers constituted my staff proper at the beginning of the
campaign, which remained substantially the same till the close of
the war, with very few exceptions; viz.: Surgeon John Moore, United
States Army, relieved Surgeon Kittoe of the volunteers (about
Atlanta) as medical director; Major Henry Hitchcock joined as
judge-advocate, and Captain G. Ward Nichols reported as an extra
aide-de-camp (after the fall of Atlanta) at Gaylesville, just
before we started for Savannah.

During the whole month of April the preparations for active war
were going on with extreme vigor, and my letter-book shows an
active correspondence with Generals Grant, Halleck, Thomas,
McPherson, and Schofield on thousands of matters of detail and
arrangement, most of which are embraced in my testimony before the
Committee on the Conduct of the War, vol. i., Appendix.

When the time for action approached, viz., May 1,1864, the actual
armies prepared to move into Georgia resulted as follows, present
for battle:
Army of the Cumberland, Major-General THOMAS.
Infantry ....................... 54,568
Artillery ...................... 2,377
Cavalry......................... 3,828
Aggregate............... 60,773
Number of field-guns, 130.

Army of the Tennessee, Major-General McPHERSON.

Infantry ....................... 22,437
Artillery ...................... 1,404
Cavalry ........................ 624
Aggregate ............. 24,465
Guns, 96

Army of the Ohio, Major-General SCHOFIELD.

Infantry ....................... 11,183
Artillery....................... 679
Cavalry......................... 1,697
Aggregate .............. 13,559
Guns, 28.

Grand aggregate, 98,797 men and 254 guns

These figures do not embrace the cavalry divisions which were still
incomplete, viz., of General Stoneman, at Lexington, Kentucky, and
of General Garrard, at Columbia, Tennessee, who were then rapidly
collecting horses, and joined us in the early stage of the
campaign. General Stoneman, having a division of about four
thousand men and horses, was attached to Schofield's Army of the
Ohio. General Garrard's division, of about four thousand five
hundred men and horses, was attached to General Thomas's command;
and he had another irregular division of cavalry, commanded by
Brigadier-General E. McCook. There was also a small brigade of
cavalry, belonging to the Army of the Cumberland, attached
temporarily to the Army of the Tennessee, which was commanded by
Brigadier-General Judson Kilpatrick. These cavalry commands
changed constantly in strength and numbers, and were generally used
on the extreme flanks, or for some special detached service, as
will be herein-after related. The Army of the Tennessee was still
short by the two divisions detached with General Banks, up Red
River, and two other divisions on furlough in Illinois, Indiana,
and Ohio, but which were rendezvousing at Cairo, under Generals
Leggett and Crocker, to form a part of the Seventeenth Corps, which
corps was to be commanded by Major-General Frank P. Blair, then a
member of Congress, in Washington. On the 2d of April I notified
him by letter that I wanted him to join and to command these two
divisions, which ought to be ready by the 1st of May. General
Blair, with these two divisions, constituting the Seventeenth Army
Corps, did not actually overtake us until we reached Acworth and
Big Shanty, in Georgia, about the 9th of June, 1864.

In my letter of April 4th to General John A. Rawains, chief of
staff to General Grant at Washington, I described at length all the
preparations that were in progress for the active campaign thus
contemplated, and therein estimated Schofield at twelve thousand,
Thomas at forty-five thousand, and McPherson at thirty thousand.
At first I intended to open the campaign about May 1st, by moving
Schofield on Dalton from Cleveland, Thomas on the same objective
from Chattanooga, and McPherson on Rome and Kingston from Gunter's
Landing. My intention was merely to threaten Dalton in front, and
to direct McPherson to act vigorously against the railroad below
Resaca, far to the rear of the enemy. But by reason of his being
short of his estimated strength by the four divisions before
referred to, and thus being reduced to about twenty-four thousand
men, I did not feel justified in placing him so far away from the
support of the main body of the army, and therefore subsequently
changed the plan of campaign, so far as to bring that army up to
Chattanooga, and to direct it thence through Ship's Gap against the
railroad to Johnston's rear, at or near Resaca, distant from Dalton
only eighteen miles, and in full communication with the other
armies by roads behind Rocky face Ridge, of about the same length.

On the 10th of April I received General Grant's letter of April 4th
from Washington, which formed the basis of all the campaigns of the
year 1864, and subsequently received another of April 19th, written
from Culpepper, Virginia, both of which are now in my possession,
in his own handwriting, and are here given entire. These letters
embrace substantially all the orders he ever made on this
particular subject, and these, it will be seen, devolved on me the
details both as to the plan and execution of the campaign by the
armies under my immediate command. These armies were to be
directed against the rebel army commanded by General Joseph E.
Johnston, then lying on the defensive, strongly intrenched at
Dalton, Georgia; and I was required to follow it up closely and
persistently, so that in no event could any part be detached to
assist General Lee in Virginia; General Grant undertaking in like
manner to keep Lee so busy that he could not respond to any calls
of help by Johnston. Neither Atlanta, nor Augusta, nor Savannah,
was the objective, but the "army of Jos. Johnston," go where it


WASHINGTON D. C., April 4, 1864.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the

GENERAL: It is my design, if the enemy keep quiet and allow me to
take the initiative in the spring campaign, to work all parts of
the army together, and somewhat toward a common centre. For your
information I now write you my programme, as at present determined

I have sent orders to Banks, by private messenger, to finish up his
present expedition against Shreveport with all dispatch; to turn
over the defense of Red River to General Steels and the navy, and
to return your troops to you, and his own to New Orleans; to
abandon all of Texas, except the Rio Grande, and to hold that with
not to exceed four thousand men; to reduce the number of troops on
the Mississippi to the lowest number necessary to hold it, and to
collect from his command not less than twenty-five thousand men.
To this I will add five thousand from Missouri. With this force he
is to commence operations against Mobile as soon as he can. It
will be impossible for him to commence too early.

Gillmore joins Butler with ten thousand men, and the two operate
against Richmond from the south aide of James River. This will
give Butler thirty-three thousand men to operate with, W. F. Smith
commanding the right wing of his forces, and Gillmore the left
wing. I will stay with the Army of the Potomac, increased by
Burnside's corps of not less than twenty-five thousand effective
men, and operate directly against Lee's army, wherever it may be

Sigel collects all his available force in two columns, one, under
Ord and Averill, to start from Beverly, Virginia, and the other,
under Crook, to start from Charleston, on the Kanawha, to move
against the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad.

Crook will have all cavalry, and will endeavor to get in about
Saltville, and move east from there to join Ord. His force will be
all cavalry, while Ord will have from ten to twelve thousand men of
all arms.

You I propose to move against Johnston's army, to break it up, and
to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can,
inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.

I do not propose to lay down for you a plan of campaign, but simply
to lay down the work it is desirable to have done, and leave you
free to execute it in your own way. Submit to me, however, as
early as you can, your plan of operations.

As stated, Banks is ordered to commence operations as soon as he
can. Gillmore is ordered to report at Fortress Monroe by the 18th
inst., or as soon thereafter as practicable. Sigel is
concentrating now. None will move from their places of rendezvous
until I direct, except Banks. I want to be ready to move by the
25th inst., if possible; but all I can now direct is that you get
ready as soon as possible. I know you will have difficulties to
encounter in getting through the mountains to where supplies are
abundant, but I believe you will accomplish it.

From the expedition from the Department of West Virginia I do not
calculate on very great results; but it is the only way I can take
troops from there. With the long line of railroad Sigel has to
protect, he can spare no troops, except to move directly to his
front. In this way he must get through to inflict great damage on
the enemy, or the enemy must detach from one of his armies a large
force to prevent it. In other words, if Sigel can't skin himself,
he can hold a leg while some one else skins.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.


Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief, Washington, D.

DEAR GENERAL: Your two letters of April 4th are now before me, and
afford me infinite satisfaction. That we are now all to act on a
common plan, converging on a common centre, looks like enlightened

Like yourself, you take the biggest load, and from me you shall
have thorough and hearty cooperation. I will not let side issues
draw me off from your main plans in which I am to knock Jos.
Johnston, and to do as much damage to the resources of the enemy as
possible. I have heretofore written to General Rawlins and to
Colonel Comstock (of your staff) somewhat of the method in which I
propose to act. I have seen all my army, corps, and division
commanders, and have signified only to the former, viz., Schofield,
Thomas, and McPherson, our general plans, which I inferred from the
purport of our conversation here and at Cincinnati.

First, I am pushing stores to the front with all possible dispatch,
and am completing the army organization according to the orders
from Washington, which are ample and perfectly satisfactory.

It will take us all of April to get in our furloughed veterans, to
bring up A. J. Smith's command, and to collect provisions and
cattle on the line of the Tennessee. Each of the armies will
guard, by detachments of its own, its rear communications.

At the signal to be given by you, Schofield, leaving a select
garrison at Knoxville and London, with twelve thousand men will
drop down to the Hiawassee, and march against Johnston's right by
the old Federal road. Stoneman, now in Kentucky, organizing the
cavalry forces of the Army of the Ohio, will operate with Schofield
on his left front--it may be, pushing a select body of about two
thousand cavalry by Ducktown or Elijah toward Athena, Georgia.

Thomas will aim to have forty-five thousand men of all arms, and
move straight against Johnston, wherever he may be, fighting him
cautiously, persistently, and to the best advantage. He will have
two divisions of cavalry, to take advantage of any offering.

McPherson will have nine divisions of the Army of the Tennessee, if
A. J. Smith gets here, in which case he will have full thirty
thousand of the best men in America. He will cross the Tennessee
at Decatur and Whitesburg, march toward Rome, and feel for Thomas.
If Johnston falls behind the Coosa, then McPherson will push for
Rome; and if Johnston falls behind the Chattahoochee, as I believe
he will, then McPherson will cross over and join Thomas.

McPherson has no cavalry, but I have taken one of Thomas's
divisions, viz., Garrard's, six thousand strong, which is now at
Colombia, mounting, equipping, and preparing. I design this
division to operate on McPheraon's right, rear, or front, according
as the enemy appears. But the moment I detect Johnston falling
behind the Chattahoochee, I propose to cast off the effective part
of this cavalry division, after crossing the Coosa, straight for
Opelika, West Point, Columbus, or Wetumpka, to break up the road
between Montgomery and Georgia. If Garrard can do this work well,
he can return to the Union army; but should a superior force
interpose, then he will seek safety at Pensacola and join Banks,
or, after rest, will act against any force that he can find east of
Mobile, till such time as he can reach me.

Should Johnston fall behind the Chattahoochee, I will feign to the
right, but pass to the left and act against Atlanta or its eastern
communications, according to developed facts.

This is about as far ahead as I feel disposed, to look, but I will
ever bear in mind that Johnston is at all times to be kept so busy
that he cannot in any event send any part of his command against
you or Banks.

If Banks can at the same time carry Mobile and open up the Alabama
River, he will in a measure solve the most difficult part of my
problem, viz., "provisions." But in that I must venture. Georgia
has a million of inhabitants. If they can live, we should not
starve. If the enemy interrupt our communications, I will be
absolved from all obligations to subsist on our own resources, and
will feel perfectly justified in taking whatever and wherever we
can find. I will inspire my command, if successful, with the
feeling that beef and salt are all that is absolutely necessary to
life, and that parched corn once fed General Jackson's army on that
very ground.
As ever, your friend and servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.


Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the

GENERAL: Since my letter to you of April 4th I have seen no reason
to change any portion of the general plan of campaign, if the enemy
remain still and allow us to take the initiative. Rain has
continued so uninterruptedly until the last day or two that it will
be impossible to move, however, before the 27th, even if no more
should fall in the meantime. I think Saturday, the 30th, will
probably be the day for our general move.

Colonel Comstock, who will take this, can spend a day with you, and
fill up many little gaps of information not given in any of my

What I now want more particularly to say is, that if the two main
attacks, yours and the one from here, should promise great success,
the enemy may, in a fit of desperation, abandon one part of their
line of defense, and throw their whole strength upon the other,
believing a single defeat without any victory to sustain them
better than a defeat all along their line, and hoping too, at the
same time, that the army, meeting with no resistance, will rest
perfectly satisfied with their laurels, having penetrated to a
given point south, thereby enabling them to throw their force first
upon one and then on the other.

With the majority of military commanders they might do this.

But you have had too much experience in traveling light, and
subsisting upon the country, to be caught by any such ruse. I hope
my experience has not been thrown away. My directions, then, would
be, if the enemy in your front show signs of joining Lee, follow
him up to the full extent of your ability. I will prevent the
concentration of Lee upon your front, if it is in the power of this
army to do it.

The Army of the Potomac looks well, and, so far as I can judge,
officers and men feel well. Yours truly,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.


Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief,
Culpepper, Virginia

GENERAL: I now have, at the hands of Colonel Comstock, of your
staff, the letter of April 19th, and am as far prepared to assume
the offensive as possible. I only ask as much time as you think
proper, to enable me to get up McPherson's two divisions from
Cairo. Their furloughs will expire about this time, and some of
them should now be in motion for Clifton, whence they will march to
Decatur, to join General Dodge.

McPherson is ordered to assemble the Fifteenth Corps near Larkin's,
and to get the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps (Dodge and Blair) at
Decatur at the earliest possible moment. From these two points he
will direct his forces on Lebanon, Summerville, and Lafayette,
where he will act against Johnston, if he accept battle at Dalton;
or move in the direction of Rome, if the enemy give up Dalton, and
fall behind the Oostenaula or Etowah. I see that there is some
risk in dividing our forces, but Thomas and Schofield will have
strength enough to cover all the valleys as far as Dalton; and,
should Johnston turn his whole force against McPherson, the latter
will have his bridge at Larkin's, and the route to Chattanooga via
Willa's Valley and the Chattanooga Creek, open for retreat; and if
Johnston attempt to leave Dalton, Thomas will have force enough to
push on through Dalton to Kingston, which will checkmate him. My
own opinion is that Johnston will be compelled to hang to his
railroad, the only possible avenue of supply to his army, estimated
at from forty-five to sixty thousand men.

At Lafayette all our armies will be together, and if Johnston
stands at Dalton we must attack him in position. Thomas feels
certain that he has no material increase of force, and that he has
not sent away Hardee, or any part of his army. Supplies are the
great question. I have materially increased the number of cars
daily. When I got here, the average was from sixty-five to eighty
per day. Yesterday the report was one hundred and ninety-three;
to-day, one hundred and thirty-four; and my estimate is that one
hundred and forty-five cars per day will give us a day's supply and
a day's accumulation.

McPherson is ordered to carry in wagons twenty day's rations, and
to rely on the depot at Ringgold for the renewal of his bread.
Beeves are now being driven on the hoof to the front; and the
commissary, Colonel Beckwith, seems fully alive to the importance
of the whole matter.

Our weakest point will be from the direction of Decatur, and I will
be forced to risk something from that quarter, depending on the
fact that the enemy has no force available with which to threaten
our communications from that direction.

Colonel Comstock will explain to you personally much that I cannot
commit to paper. I am, with great respect,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

On the 28th of April I removed my headquarters to Chattanooga, and
prepared for taking the field in person. General Grant had first
indicated the 30th of April as the day for the simultaneous
advance, but subsequently changed the day to May 5th. McPhersons
troops were brought forward rapidly to Chattanooga, partly by rail
and partly by marching. Thomas's troops were already in position
(his advance being out as far as Ringgold-eighteen miles), and
Schofield was marching down by Cleveland to Red Clay and Catoosa
Springs. On the 4th of May, Thomas was in person at Ringgold, his
left at Catoosa, and his right at Leet's Tan-yard. Schofield was
at Red Clay, closing upon Thomas's left; and McPherson was moving
rapidly into Chattanooga, and out toward Gordon's Mill.

On the 5th I rode out to Ringgold, and on the very day appointed by
General Grant from his headquarters in Virginia the great campaign
was begun. To give all the minute details will involve more than
is contemplated, and I will endeavor only to trace the principal
events, or rather to record such as weighed heaviest on my own mind
at the time, and which now remain best fixed in my memory.

My general headquarters and official records remained back at
Nashville, and I had near me only my personal staff and
inspectors-general, with about half a dozen wagons, and a single
company of Ohio sharp-shooters (commanded by Lieutenant McCrory) as
headquarters or camp guard. I also had a small company of
irregular Alabama cavalry (commanded by Lieutenant Snelling), used
mostly as orderlies and couriers. No wall-tents were allowed, only
the flies. Our mess establishment was less in bulk than that of
any of the brigade commanders; nor was this from an indifference to
the ordinary comforts of life, but because I wanted to set the
example, and gradually to convert all parts of that army into a
mobile machine, willing and able to start at a minute's notice, and
to subsist on the scantiest food. To reap absolute success might
involve the necessity even of dropping all wagons, and to subsist
on the chance food which the country was known to contain. I had
obtained not only the United States census-tables of 1860, but a
compilation made by the Controller of the State of Georgia for the
purpose of taxation, containing in considerable detail the
"population and statistics" of every county in Georgia. One of my
aides (Captain Dayton) acted as assistant adjutant general, with an
order-book, letter-book, and writing-paper, that filled a small
chest not much larger than an ordinary candle-boa. The only
reports and returns called for were the ordinary tri-monthly
returns of "effective strength." As these accumulated they were
sent back to Nashville, and afterward were embraced in the archives
of the Military Division of the Mississippi, changed in 1865 to the
Military Division of the Missouri, and I suppose they were burned
in the Chicago fire of 1870. Still, duplicates remain of all
essential papers in the archives of the War Department.

The 6th of May was given to Schofield and McPherson to get into
position, and on the 7th General Thomas moved in force against
Tunnel Hill, driving off a mere picket-guard of the enemy, and I
was agreeably surprised to find that no damage had been done to the
tunnel or the railroad. From Tunnel Hill I could look into the
gorge by which the railroad passed through a straight and
well-defined range of mountains, presenting sharp palisade faces,
and known as "Rocky Face." The gorge itself was called the
"Buzzard Roost." We could plainly see the enemy in this gorge and
behind it, and Mill Creek which formed the gorge, flowing toward
Dalton, had been dammed up, making a sort of irregular lake,
filling the road, thereby obstructing it, and the enemy's batteries
crowned the cliffs on either side. The position was very strong,
and I knew that such a general as was my antagonist (Jos.
Johnston), who had been there six months, had fortified it to the
maximum. Therefore I had no intention to attack the position
seriously in front, but depended on McPherson to capture and hold
the railroad to its rear, which would force Johnston to detach
largely against him, or rather, as I expected, to evacuate his
position at Dalton altogether. My orders to Generals Thomas and
Schofield were merely to press strongly at all points in front,
ready to rush in on the first appearance of "let go," and, if
possible, to catch our enemy in the confusion of retreat.

All the movements of the 7th and 8th were made exactly as ordered,
and the enemy seemed quiescent, acting purely on the defensive.

I had constant communication with all parts of the army, and on the
9th McPherson's head of column entered and passed through Snake
Creek, perfectly undefended, and accomplished a complete surprise
to the enemy. At its farther debouche he met a cavalry brigade,
easily driven, which retreated hastily north toward Dalton, and
doubtless carried to Johnston the first serious intimation that a
heavy force of infantry and artillery was to his rear and within a
few miles of his railroad. I got a short note from McPherson that
day (written at 2 p.m., when he was within a mile and a half of the
railroad, above and near Resaca), and we all felt jubilant. I
renewed orders to Thomas and Schofield to be ready for the instant
pursuit of what I expected to be a broken and disordered army,
forced to retreat by roads to the east of Resaca, which were known
to be very rough and impracticable.

That night I received further notice from McPherson that he had
found Resaca too strong for a surprise; that in consequence he had
fallen back three miles to the month of Snake Creek Gap, and was
there fortified. I wrote him the next day the following letters,
copies of which are in my letter-book; but his to me were mere
notes in pencil, not retained


Major-General McPHERSON, commanding army of the Tennessee,
Sugar Valley, Georgia.

GENERAL: I received by courier (in the night) yours of 5 and 8.30
P. M. of yesterday.

You now have your twenty-three thousand men, and General Hooker is
in close support, so that you can hold all of Jos. Johnston's army
in check should he abandon Dalton. He cannot afford to abandon
Dalton, for he has fixed it up on purpose to receive us, and he
observes that we are close at hand, waiting for him to quit. He
cannot afford a detachment strong enough to fight you, as his army
will not admit of it.

Strengthen your position; fight any thing that comes; and threaten
the safety of the railroad all the time. But, to tell the truth, I
would rather the enemy would stay in Dalton two more days, when he
may find in his rear a larger party than he expects in an open
field. At all events, we can then choose our own ground, and he
will be forced to move out of his works. I do not intend to put a
column into Buzzard-Roost Gap at present.

See that you are in easy communication with me and with all head-
quarters. After to-day the supplies will be at Ringgold.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.


Major-General McPHERSON, commanding army of the Tennessee,
Sugar Valley, Georgia

GENERAL: The indications are that Johnston is evacuating Dalton.
In that event, Howard's corps and the cavalry will pursue; all the
rest will follow your route. I will be down early in the morning.

Try to strike him if possible about the forks of the road.

Hooker must be with you now, and you may send General Garrard by
Summerville to threaten Rome and that flank. I will cause all the
lines to be felt at once.

W. T. SHERMAN, major-general commanding.

McPherson had startled Johnston in his fancied security, but had
not done the full measure of his work. He had in hand twenty-three
thousand of the best men of the army, and could have walked into
Resaca (then held only by a small brigade), or he could have placed
his whole force astride the railroad above Resaca, and there have
easily withstood the attack of all of Johnston's army, with the
knowledge that Thomas and Schofield were on his heels. Had he done
so, I am certain that Johnston would not have ventured to attack
him in position, but would have retreated eastward by Spring Place,
and we should have captured half his army and all his artillery and
wagons at the very beginning of the campaign.

Such an opportunity does not occur twice in a single life, but at
the critical moment McPherson seems to have been a little cautious.
Still, he was perfectly justified by his orders, and fell back and
assumed an unassailable defensive position in Sugar Valley, on the
Resaca side of Snake-Creek Gap. As soon as informed of this, I
determined to pass the whole army through Snake-Creek Gap, and to
move on Resaca with the main army.

But during the 10th, the enemy showed no signs of evacuating

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest