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The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Vol. I. by William T. Sherman

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been published:


WASHINGTON, August 29, 1868.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Vicksburg, Mississippi

My DEAR GENERAL: The question of reconstruction in Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas, will soon come up for decision of the
Government, and not only the length of the war, but our ultimate
and complete success, will depend upon its decision. It is a
difficult matter, but I believe it can be successfully solved, if
the President will consult opinions of cool and discreet men, who
are capable of looking at it in all its bearings and effects. I
think he is disposed to receive the advice of our generals who have
been in these States, and know much more of their condition than
gassy politicians in Congress. General Banks has written pretty
fully, on the subject. I wrote to General Grant, immediately,
after the fall of Vicksburg, for his views in regard to
Mississippi, but he has not yet answered.

I wish you would consult with Grant, McPherson, and others of cool,
good judgment, and write me your views fully, as I may wish to use
them with the President. You had better write me unofficially, and
then your letter will not be put on file, and cannot hereafter be
used against you. You have been in Washington enough to know how
every thing a man writes or says is picked up by his enemies and
misconstrued. With kind wishes for your further success,

I am yours truly,


[Private and Confidential.]

H. W. HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.

DEAR GENERAL: I have received your letter of August 29th, and with
pleasure confide to you fully my thoughts on the important matters
you suggest, with absolute confidence that you will use what is
valuable, and reject the useless or superfluous.

That part of the continent of North America known as Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas, is in my judgment the key to the whole
interior. The valley of the Mississippi is America, and, although
railroads have changed the economy of intercommunication, yet the
water-channels still mark the lines of fertile land, and afford
cheap carriage to the heavy products of it.

The inhabitants of the country on the Monongahela, the Illinois,
the Minnesota, the Yellowstone, and Osage, are as directly
concerned in the security of the Lower Mississippi as are those who
dwell on its very banks in Louisiana; and now that the nation has
recovered its possession, this generation of men will make a
fearful mistake if they again commit its charge to a people liable
to misuse their position, and assert, as was recently done, that,
because they dwelt on the banks of this mighty stream, they had a
right to control its navigation.

I would deem it very unwise at this time, or for years to come, to
revive the State governments of Louisiana, etc., or to institute in
this quarter any civil government in which the local people have
much to say. They had a government so mild and paternal that they
gradually forgot they had any at all, save what they themselves
controlled; they asserted an absolute right to seize public moneys,
forts, arms, and even to shut up the natural avenues of travel and
commerce. They chose war--they ignored and denied all the
obligations of the solemn contract of government and appealed to

We accepted the issue, and now they begin to realize that war is a
two-edged sword, and it may be that many of the inhabitants cry for
peace. I know them well, and the very impulses of their nature;
and to deal with the inhabitants of that part of the South which
borders on the great river, we must recognize the classes into
which they have divided themselves:

First. The large planters, owning lands, slaves, and all kinds of
personal property. These are, on the whole, the ruling class.
They are educated, wealthy, and easily approached. In some
districts they are bitter as gall, and have given up slaves,
plantations, and all, serving in the armies of the Confederacy;
whereas, in others, they are conservative. None dare admit a
friendship for us, though they say freely that they were at the
outset opposed to war and disunion. I know we can manage this
class, but only by action. Argument is exhausted, and words have
lost their usual meaning. Nothing but the logic of events touches
their understanding; but, of late, this has worked a wonderful
change. If our country were like Europe, crowded with people, I
would say it would be easier to replace this class than to
reconstruct it, subordinate to the policy of the nation; but, as
this is not the case, it is better to allow the planters, with
individual exceptions, gradually to recover their plantations, to
hire any species of labor, and to adapt themselves to the new order
of things. Still, their friendship and assistance to reconstruct
order out of the present ruin cannot be depended on. They watch
the operations of our armies, and hope still for a Southern
Confederacy that will restore to them the slaves and privileges
which they feel are otherwise lost forever. In my judgment, we
have two more battles to win before we should even bother our minds
with the idea of restoring civil order--viz., one near Meridian, in
November, and one near Shreveport, in February and March next, when
Red River is navigable by our gunboats. When these are done, then,
and not until then, will the planters of Louisiana, Arkansas, and
Mississippi, submit. Slavery is already gone, and, to cultivate
the land, negro or other labor must be hired. This, of itself, is
a vast revolution, and time must be afforded to allow men to adjust
their minds and habits to this new order of things. A civil
government of the representative type would suit this class far
less than a pure military role, readily adapting itself to actual
occurrences, and able to enforce its laws and orders promptly and

Second. The smaller farmers, mechanics, merchants, and laborers.
This class will probably number three-quarters of the whole; have,
in fact, no real interest in the establishment of a Southern
Confederacy, and have been led or driven into war on the false
theory that they were to be benefited somehow--they knew not how.
They are essentially tired of the war, and would slink back home if
they could. These are the real tiers etat of the South, and are
hardly worthy a thought; for they swerve to and fro according to
events which they do not comprehend or attempt to shape. When the
time for reconstruction comes, they will want the old political
system of caucuses, Legislatures, etc., to amuse them and make them
believe they are real sovereigns; but in all things they will
follow blindly the lead of the planters. The Southern politicians,
who understand this class, use them as the French do their masses
--seemingly consult their prejudices, while they make their orders
and enforce them. We should do the same.

Third. The Union men of the South. I must confess I have little
respect for this class. They allowed a clamorous set of demagogues
to muzzle and drive them as a pack of curs. Afraid of shadows,
they submit tamely to squads of dragoons, and permit them, without
a murmur, to burn their cotton, take their horses, corn, and every
thing; and, when we reach them, they are full of complaints if our
men take a few fence-rails for fire, or corn to feed our horses.
They give us no assistance or information, and are loudest in their
complaints at the smallest excesses of our soldiers. Their sons,
horses, arms, and every thing useful, are in the army against us,
and they stay at home, claiming all the exemptions of peaceful
citizens. I account them as nothing in this great game of war.

Fourth. The young bloods of the South: sons of planters, lawyers
about towns, good billiard-players and sportsmen, men who never did
work and never will. War suits them, and the rascals are brave,
fine riders, bold to rashness, and dangerous subjects in every
sense. They care not a sou for niggers, land, or any thing. They
hate Yankees per se, and don't bother their brains about the past,
present, or future. As long as they have good horses, plenty of
forage, and an open country, they are happy. This is a larger
class than most men suppose, and they are the most dangerous set of
men that this war has turned loose upon the world. They are
splendid riders, first-rate shots, and utterly reckless. Stewart,
John Morgan, Forrest, and Jackson, are the types and leaders of
this class. These men must all be killed or employed by us before
we can hope for peace. They have no property or future, and
therefore cannot be influenced by any thing, except personal
considerations. I have two brigades of these fellows in my front,
commanded by Cosby, of the old army, and Whitfield, of Texas.
Stephen D. Lee is in command of the whole. I have frequent
interviews with their officers, a good understanding with them, and
am inclined to think, when the resources of their country are
exhausted, we must employ them. They are the best cavalry in the
world, but it will tax Mr. Chase's genius for finance to supply
them with horses. At present horses cost them nothing; for they
take where they find, and don't bother their brains as to who is to
pay for them; the same may be said of the cornfields, which have,
as they believe, been cultivated by a good-natured people for their
special benefit. We propose to share with them the free use of
these cornfields, planted by willing hands, that will never gather
the crops.

Now that I have sketched the people who inhabit the district of
country under consideration, I will proceed to discuss the future.

A civil government now, for any part of it, would be simply
ridiculous. The people would not regard it, and even the military
commanders of the antagonistic parties would treat it lightly.
Governors would be simply petitioners for military assistance, to
protect supposed friendly interests, and military commanders would
refuse to disperse and weaken their armies for military reasons.
Jealousies would arise between the two conflicting powers, and,
instead of contributing to the end of the war, would actually defer
it. Therefore, I contend that the interests of the United States,
and of the real parties concerned, demand the continuance of the
simple military role, till after all the organized armies of the
South are dispersed, conquered, and subjugated.

The people of all this region are represented in the Army of
Virginia, at Charleston, Mobile, and Chattanooga. They have sons
and relations in each of the rebel armies, and naturally are
interested in their fate. Though we hold military possession of
the key-points of their country, still they contend, and naturally,
that should Lee succeed in Virginia, or Bragg at Chattanooga, a
change will occur here also. We cannot for this reason attempt to
reconstruct parts of the South as we conquer it, till all idea of
the establishment of a Southern Confederacy is abandoned. We
should avail ourselves of the present lull to secure the
strategical points that will give us an advantage in the future
military movements, and we should treat the idea of civil
government as one in which we as a nation have a minor or
subordinate interest. The opportunity is good to impress on the
population the truth that they are more interested in civil
government than we are; and that, to enjoy the protection of laws,
they most not be passive observers of events, but must aid and
sustain the constituted authorities in enforcing the laws; they
must not only submit themselves, but should pay their share of
taxes, and render personal services when called on.

It seems to me, in contemplating the history of the past two years,
that all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West,
have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning
lessons which might have been acquired from the experience of other
people; but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we
would only learn by actual experience of our own. The people even
of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had
reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were
superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our
territorial nation rebelled, on a doctrine of secession that they
themselves now scout; and a real numerical majority actually
believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that
it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present
war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the
experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.

Another great and important natural truth is still in contest, and
can only be solved by war. Numerical majorities by vote have been
our great arbiter. Heretofore all men have cheerfully submitted to
it in questions left open, but numerical majorities are not
necessarily physical majorities. The South, though numerically
inferior, contend they can whip the Northern superiority of
numbers, and therefore by natural law they contend that they are
not bound to submit. This issue is the only real one, and in my
judgment all else should be deferred to it. War alone can decide
it, and it is the only question now left for us as a people to
decide. Can we whip the South? If we can, our numerical majority
has both the natural and constitutional right to govern them. If
we cannot whip them, they contend for the natural right to select
their own government, and they have the argument. Our armies must
prevail over theirs; our officers, marshals, and courts, must
penetrate into the innermost recesses of their land, before we have
the natural right to demand their submission.

I would banish all minor questions, assert the broad doctrine that
as a nation the United States has the right, and also the physical
power, to penetrate to every part of our national domain, and that
we will do it--that we will do it in our own time and in our own
way; that it makes no difference whether it be in one year, or two,
or ten, or twenty; that we will remove and destroy every obstacle,
if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of
property, every thing that to us seems proper; that we will not
cease till the end is attained; that all who do not aid us are
enemies, and that we will not account to them for our acts. If the
people of the South oppose, they do so at their peril; and if they
stand by, mere lookers-on in this domestic tragedy, they have no
right to immunity, protection, or share in the final results.

I even believe and contend further that, in the North, every member
of the nation is bound by both natural and constitutional law to
"maintain and defend the Government against all its enemies and
opposers whomsoever." If they fail to do it they are derelict, and
can be punished, or deprived of all advantages arising from the
labors of those who do. If any man, North or South, withholds his
share of taxes, or his physical assistance in this, the crisis of
our history, he should be deprived of all voice in the future
elections of this country, and might be banished, or reduced to the
condition of a mere denizen of the land.

War is upon us, none can deny it. It is not the choice of the
Government of the United States, but of a faction; the Government
was forced to accept the issue, or to submit to a degradation fatal
and disgraceful to all the inhabitants. In accepting war, it
should be "pure and simple" as applied to the belligerents. I
would keep it so, till all traces of the war are effaced; till
those who appealed to it are sick and tired of it, and come to the
emblem of our nation, and sue for peace. I would not coax them, or
even meet them half-way, but make them so sick of war that
generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.

I know what I say when I repeat that the insurgents of the South
sneer at all overtures looking to their interests. They scorn the
alliance with the Copperheads; they tell me to my face that they
respect Grant, McPherson, and our brave associates who fight
manfully and well for a principle, but despise the Copperheads and
sneaks at the North, who profess friendship for the South and
opposition to the war, as mere covers for their knavery and

God knows that I deplore this fratricidal war as much as any man
living, but it is upon us, a physical fact; and there is only one
honorable issue from it. We must fight it out, army against army,
and man against man; and I know, and you know, and civilians begin
to realize the fact, that reconciliation and reconstruction will be
easier through and by means of strong, well-equipped, and organized
armies than through any species of conventions that can be framed.
The issues are made, and all discussion is out of place and
ridiculous. The section of thirty-pounder Parrott rifles now
drilling before my tent is a more convincing argument than the
largest Democratic meeting the State of New York can possibly
assemble at Albany; and a simple order of the War Department to
draft enough men to fill our skeleton regiments would be more
convincing as to our national perpetuity than an humble pardon to
Jeff. Davis and all his misled host.

The only government needed or deserved by the States of Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Mississippi, now exists in Grant's army. This needs,
simply, enough privates to fill its ranks; all else will follow in
due season. This army has its well-defined code of laws and
practice, and can adapt itself to the wants and necessities of a
city, the country, the rivers, the sea, indeed to all parts of this
land. It better subserves the interest and policy of the General
Government, and the people here prefer it to any weak or servile
combination that would at once, from force of habit, revive sad
perpetuate local prejudices and passions. The people of this
country have forfeited all right to a voice in the councils of the
nation. They know it and feel it, and in after-years they will be
the better citizens from the dear bought experience of the present
crisis. Let them learn now, and learn it well, that good citizens
must obey as well as command. Obedience to law, absolute--yea,
even abject--is the lesson that this war, under Providence, will
teach the free and enlightened American citizen. As a nation, we
shall be the better for it.

I never have apprehended foreign interference in our family
quarrel. Of coarse, governments founded on a different and it may
be an antagonistic principle with ours naturally feel a pleasure at
our complications, and, it may be, wish our downfall; but in the
end England and France will join with us in jubilation at the
triumph of constitutional government over faction. Even now the
English manifest this. I do not profess to understand Napoleon's
design in Mexico, and I do not, see that his taking military
possession of Mexico concerns us. We have as much territory now as
we want. The Mexicans have failed in self-government, and it was a
question as to what nation she should fall a prey. That is now
solved, and I don't see that we are damaged. We have the finest
part of the North American Continent, all we can people and can
take care of; and, if we can suppress rebellion in our own land,
and compose the strife generated by it, we shall have enough
people, resources, and wealth, if well combined, to defy
interference from any and every quarter.

I therefore hope the Government of the United States will continue,
as heretofore, to collect, in well-organized armies, the physical
strength of the nation; applying it, as heretofore, in asserting
the national authority; and in persevering, without relaxation, to
the end. This, whether near or far off, is not for us to say; but,
fortunately, we have no choice. We must succeed--no other choice
is left us except degradation. The South must be ruled by us, or
she will rule us. We must conquer them, or ourselves be conquered.
There is no middle course. They ask, and will have, nothing else,
and talk of compromise is bosh; for we know they would even scorn
the offer.

I wish the war could have been deferred for twenty years, till the
superabundant population of the North could flow in and replace the
losses sustained by war; but this could not be, and we are forced
to take things as they are.

All therefore I can now venture to advise is to raise the draft to
its maximum, fill the present regiments to as large a standard as
possible, and push the war, pure and simple. Great attention
should be paid to the discipline of our armies, for on them may be
founded the future stability of the Government.

The cost of the war is, of course, to be considered, but finances
will adjust themselves to the actual state of affairs; and, even if
we would, we could not change the cost. Indeed, the larger the
cost now, the less will it be in the end; for the end must be
attained somehow, regardless of loss of life and treasure, and is
merely a question of time.

Excuse so long a letter. With great respect, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

General Halleck, on receipt of this letter, telegraphed me that Mr.
Lincoln had read it carefully, and had instructed him to obtain my
consent to have it published. At the time, I preferred not to be
drawn into any newspaper controversy, and so wrote to General
Halleck; and the above letter has never been, to my knowledge,
published; though Mr. Lincoln more than once referred to it with
marks of approval.

CAMP ON BIG BLACK, September 17, 1863

Brigadier-General J. A. RAWLINS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Vicksburg.

DEAR GENERAL: I inclose for your perusal, and for you to read to
General Grant such parts as you deem interesting, letters received
by me from Prof. Mahan and General Halleck, with my answers. After
you have read my answer to General Halleck, I beg you to inclose it
to its address, and return me the others.

I think Prof. Mahan's very marked encomium upon the campaign of
Vicksburg is so flattering to General Grant, that you may offer to
let him keep the letter, if he values such a testimonial. I have
never written a word to General Halleck since my report of last
December, after the affair at Chickasaw, except a short letter a
few days ago, thanking him for the kind manner of his transmitting
to me the appointment of brigadier-general. I know that in
Washington I am incomprehensible, because at the outset of the war
I would not go it blind and rush headlong into a war unprepared and
with an utter ignorance of its extent and purpose. I was then
construed unsound; and now that I insist on war pure and simple,
with no admixture of civil compromises, I am supposed vindictive.
You remember what Polonius said to his son Laertes: "Beware of
entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, bear it, that the opposed may
beware of thee." What is true of the single man, is equally true
of a nation. Our leaders seemed at first to thirst for the
quarrel, willing, even anxious, to array against us all possible
elements of opposition; and now, being in, they would hasten to
quit long before the "opposed" has received that lesson which he
needs. I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no
symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy; indeed, I know,
and you know, that the end would be reached quicker by such a
course than by any seeming yielding on our part. I don't want our
Government to be bothered by patching up local governments, or by
trying to reconcile any class of men. The South has done her
worst, and now is the time for us to pile on our blows thick and

Instead of postponing the draft till after the elections, we ought
now to have our ranks full of drafted men; and, at best, if they
come at all, they will reach us when we should be in motion.

I think General Halleck would like to have the honest, candid
opinions of all of us, viz., Grant, McPherson, and Sherman. I have
given mine, and would prefer, of course, that it should coincide
with the others. Still, no matter what my opinion may be, I can
easily adapt my conduct to the plane of others, and am only too
happy when I find theirs better, than mine.

If no trouble, please show Halleck's letter to McPherson, and ask
him to write also. I know his regiments are like mine (mere
squads), and need filling up. Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.




After the fall of Vicksburg, and its corollary, Port Hudson, the
Mississippi River was wholly in the possession of the Union forces,
and formed a perfect line of separation in the territories of our
opponents. Thenceforth, they could not cross it save by stealth,
and the military affairs on its west bank became unimportant.
Grant's army had seemingly completed its share of the work of war,
and lay, as it were, idle for a time. In person General Grant went
to New Orleans to confer with General Banks, and his victorious
army was somewhat dispersed. Parke's corps (Ninth) returned to
Kentucky, and afterward formed part of the Army of the Ohio, under
General Burnside; Ord's corps (Thirteenth) was sent down to
Natchez, and gradually drifted to New Orleans and Texas; McPhersons
(Seventeenth) remained in and near Vicksburg; Hurlbut's (Sixteenth)
was at Memphis; and mine (Fifteenth) was encamped along the Big
Black, about twenty miles east of Vicksburg. This corps was
composed of four divisions: Steele's (the First) was posted at and
near the railroad-bridge; Blair's (the Second), next in order, near
Parson Fox's; the Third Division (Tuttle's) was on the ridge about
the head of Bear Creek; and the Fourth (Ewing's) was at Messinger's
Ford. My own headquarters were in tents in a fine grove of old
oaks near Parson Fox's house, and the battalion of the Thirteenth
Regulars was the headquarters guard.

All the camps were arranged for health, comfort, rest, and drill.
It being midsummer, we did not expect any change till the autumn
months, and accordingly made ourselves as comfortable as possible.
There was a short railroad in operation from Vicksburg to the
bridge across the Big Black, whence supplies in abundance were
hauled to our respective camps. With a knowledge of this fact Mrs.
Sherman came down from Ohio with Minnie, Lizzie, Willie, and Tom,
to pay us a visit in our camp at Parson Fog's. Willie was then
nine years old, was well advanced for his years, and took the most
intense interest in the affairs of the army. He was a great
favorite with the soldiers, and used to ride with me on horseback
in the numerous drills and reviews of the time. He then had the
promise of as long a life as any of my children, and displayed more
interest in the war than any of them. He was called a "sergeant"
in the regular battalion, learned the manual of arms, and regularly
attended the parade and guard-mounting of the Thirteenth, back of
my camp. We made frequent visits to Vicksburg, and always stopped
with General McPherson, who had a large house, and boarded with a
family (Mrs. Edwards's) in which were several interesting young
ladies. General Grant occupied another house (Mrs. Lum's) in
Vicksburg during that summer, and also had his family with him.
The time passed very agreeably, diversified only by little events
of not much significance, among which I will recount only one.

While, we occupied the west bank of the Big Black, the east bank
was watched by a rebel cavalry-division, commanded by General
Armstrong. He had four brigades, commanded by Generals Whitfield,
Stark, Cosby, and Wirt Adams. Quite frequently they communicated
with us by flags of truce on trivial matters, and we reciprocated;
merely to observe them. One day a flag of truce, borne by a
Captain B...., of Louisville, Kentucky, escorted by about
twenty-five men, was reported at Messinger's Ferry, and I sent
orders to let them come right into my tent. This brought them
through the camps of the Fourth Division, and part of the Second;
and as they drew up in front of my tent, I invited Captain B....
and another officer with him (a major from Mobile) to dismount, to
enter my tent, and to make themselves at home. Their escort was
sent to join mine, with orders to furnish them forage and every
thing they wanted. B.... had brought a sealed letter for General
Grant at Vicksburg, which was dispatched to him. In the evening we
had a good supper, with wine and cigars, and, as we sat talking,
B.... spoke of his father and mother, in Louisville, got leave to
write them a long letter without its being read by any one, and
then we talked about the war. He said: "What is the use of your
persevering? It is simply impossible to subdue eight millions of
people;" asserting that "the feeling in the South had become so
embittered that a reconciliation was impossible." I answered that,
"sitting as we then were, we appeared very comfortable, and surely
there was no trouble in our becoming friends." "Yes," said he,
"that is very true of us, but we are gentlemen of education, and
can easily adapt ourselves to any condition of things; but this
would not apply equally well to the common people, or to the common
soldiers." I took him out to the camp-fires behind the tent, and
there were the men of his escort and mine mingled together,
drinking their coffee, and happy as soldiers always seem. I asked
B.... what he thought of that, and he admitted that I had the best
of the argument. Before I dismissed this flag of truce, his
companion consulted me confidentially as to what disposition he
ought to make of his family, then in Mobile, and I frankly gave him
the best advice I could.

While we were thus lying idle in camp on the big Black, the Army of
the Cumberland, under General Rosecrans, was moving against Bragg
at Chattanooga; and the Army of the Ohio, General Burnside, was
marching toward East Tennessee. General Rosecrans was so confident
of success that he somewhat scattered his command, seemingly to
surround and capture Bragg in Chattanooga; but the latter,
reenforced from Virginia, drew out of Chattanooga, concentrated his
army at Lafayette, and at Chickamauga fell on Rosecrans, defeated
him, and drove him into Chattanooga. The whole country seemed
paralyzed by this unhappy event; and the authorities in Washington
were thoroughly stampeded. From the East the Eleventh Corps
(Slocum), and the Twelfth Corps (Howard), were sent by rail to
Nashville, and forward under command of General Hooker; orders were
also sent to General Grant, by Halleck, to send what reenforcements
he could spare immediately toward Chattanooga.

Bragg had completely driven Rosecrans's army into Chattanooga; the
latter was in actual danger of starvation, and the railroad to his
rear seemed inadequate to his supply. The first intimation which I
got of this disaster was on the 22d of September, by an order from
General Grant to dispatch one of my divisions immediately into
Vicksburg, to go toward Chattanooga, and I designated the First,
General Osterhaus--Steele meantime having been appointed to the
command of the Department of Arkansas, and had gone to Little Rock.
General Osterhaus marched the same day, and on the 23d I was
summoned to Vicksburg in person, where General Grant showed me the
alarming dispatches from General Halleck, which had been sent from
Memphis by General Hurlbut, and said, on further thought, that he
would send me and my whole corps. But, inasmuch as one division of
McPherson's corps (John E. Smith's) had already started, he
instructed me to leave one of my divisions on the Big Black, and to
get the other two ready to follow at once. I designated the
Second, then commanded by Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith, and the
Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Corse.

On the 25th I returned to my camp on Big Black, gave all the
necessary orders for these divisions to move, and for the Third
(Tittle's) to remain, and went into Vicksburg with my family. The
last of my corps designed for this expedition started from camp on
the 27th, reached Vicksburg the 28th, and were embarked on boats
provided for them. General Halleck's dispatches dwelt upon the
fact that General Rosecrans's routes of supply were overtaxed, and
that we should move from Memphis eastward, repairing railroads as
we progressed, as far as Athens, Alabama, whence I was to report to
General Rosecrans, at Chattanooga, by letter.

I took passage for myself and family in the steamer Atlantic,
Captain Henry McDougall. When the boat was ready to start, Willie
was missing. Mrs. Sherman supposed him to have been with me,
whereas I supposed he was with her. An officer of the Thirteenth
went up to General McPherson's house for him, and soon returned,
with Captain Clift leading him, carrying in his hands a small
double-barreled shot gun; and I joked him about carrying away
captured property. In a short time we got off. As we all stood on
the guards to look at our old camps at Young's Point, I remarked
that Willie was not well, and he admitted that he was sick. His
mother put him to bed, and consulted Dr. Roler, of the Fifty-fifth
Illinois, who found symptoms of typhoid fever. The river was low;
we made slow progress till above Helena; and, as we approached
Memphis, Dr. Roler told me that Willie's life was in danger, and he
was extremely anxious to reach Memphis for certain medicines and
for consultation. We arrived at Memphis on the 2d of October,
carried Willie up to the Gayoso Hotel, and got the most experienced
physician there, who acted with Dr. Roler, but he sank rapidly, and
died the evening of the 3d of October. The blow was a terrible one
to us all, so sudden and so unexpected, that I could not help
reproaching myself for having consented to his visit in that sickly
region in the summer-time. Of all my children, he seemed the most
precious. Born in San Francisco, I had watched with intense
interest his development, and he seemed more than any of the
children to take an interest in my special profession. Mrs.
Sherman, Minnie, Lizzie, and Tom, were with him at the time, and we
all, helpless and overwhelmed, saw him die. Being in the very
midst of an important military enterprise, I had hardly time to
pause and think of my personal loss. We procured a metallic
casket, and had a military funeral, the battalion of the Thirteenth
United States Regulars acting as escort from the Gayoso Hotel to
the steamboat Grey Eagle, which conveyed him and my family up to
Cairo, whence they proceeded to our home at Lancaster, Ohio, where
he was buried. I here give my letter to Captain C. C. Smith, who
commanded the battalion at the time, as exhibiting our intense

October 4, 1863, Midnight

Captain C. C. SMITH, commanding Battalion Thirteenth United States

MY DEAR FRIEND: I cannot sleep to-night till I record an expression
of the deep feelings of my heart to you, and to the officers and
soldiers of the battalion, for their kind behavior to my poor
child. I realize that you all feel for my family the attachment of
kindred, and I assure you of full reciprocity. Consistent with a
sense of duty to my profession and office, I could not leave my
post, and sent for the family to come to me in that fatal climate,
and in that sickly period of the year, and behold the result! The
child that bore my name, and in whose future I reposed with more
confidence than I did in my own plan of life, now floats a mere
corpse, seeking a grave in a distant land, with a weeping mother,
brother, and sisters, clustered about him. For myself, I ask no
sympathy. On, on I must go, to meet a soldier's fate, or live to
see our country rise superior to all factions, till its flag is
adored and respected by ourselves and by all the powers of the

But Willie was, or thought he was, a sergeant in the Thirteenth. I
have seen his eye brighten, his heart beat, as he beheld the
battalion under arms, and asked me if they were not real soldiers.
Child as he was, he had the enthusiasm, the pure love of truth,
honor, and love of country, which should animate all soldiers.

God only knows why he should die thus young. He is dead, but will
not be forgotten till those who knew him in life have followed him
to that same mysterious end.

Please convey to the battalion my heart-felt thanks, and assure
each and all that if in after-years they call on me or mine, and
mention that they were of the Thirteenth Regulars when Willie was a
sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of my family that
will open all it has; that we will share with them our last
blanket, our last crust! Your friend,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-general.

Long afterward, in the spring of 1867, we had his body disinterred
and brought to St. Louis, where he is now buried in a beautiful
spot, in Calvary Cemetery, by the side of another child, "Charles,"
who was born at Lancaster, in the summer of 1864, died early, and
was buried at Notre Dame, Indiana. His body was transferred at the
same time to the same spot. Over Willie's grave is erected a
beautiful marble monument, designed and executed by the officers
and soldiers, of that battalion which claimed him as a sergeant and

During the summer and fall of 1863 Major-General S. A. Hurlbut was
in command at Memphis. He supplied me copies of all dispatches
from Washington, and all the information he possessed of the events
about Chattanooga. Two of these dispatches cover all essential

WASHINGTON CITY, September 15, 1863--5 p.m.

Major-General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis:

All the troops that can possibly be spared in West Tennessee and on
the Mississippi River should be sent without delay to assist
General Rosecrans on the Tennessee River.

Urge Sherman to act with all possible promptness.

If you have boats, send them down to bring up his troops.

Information just received indicates that a part of Lee's army has
been sent to reenforce Bragg.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

Washington, September 19, 1868--4 p.m.

Major-General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis, Tennessee:

Give me definite information of the number of troops sent toward
Decatur, and where they are. Also, what other troops are to
follow, and when.

Has any thing been heard from the troops ordered from Vicksburg?

No efforts must be spared to support Rosecrans's right, and to
guard the crossings of the Tennessee River.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

My special orders were to repair the Memphis & Charleston Railroad
eastward as I progressed, as far as Athens, Alabama, to draw
supplies by that route, so that, on reaching Athens, we should not
be dependent on the roads back to Nashville, already overtaxed by
the demand of Rosecrans's army.

On reaching Memphis, October 2d, I found that Osterhaus's division
had already gone by rail as far as Corinth, and than John E.
Smith's division was in the act of starting by cars. The Second
Division, then commanded by Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith,
reached Memphis at the same time with me; and the Fourth Division,
commanded by Brigadier-General John M. Corse, arrived a day or two
after. The railroad was in fair condition as far as Corinth,
ninety-six miles, but the road was badly stocked with locomotives
and cars, so that it took until the 9th to get off the Second
Division, when I gave orders for the Fourth Division and
wagon-trains to march by the common road.

On Sunday morning, October 11th, with a special train loaded with
our orderlies and clerks, the horses of our staff, the battalion of
the Thirteenth United States Regulars, and a few officers going
forward to join their commands, among them Brigadier-General Hugh
Ewing, I started for Corinth.

At Germantown, eight miles, we passed Corse's division (Fourth) on
the march, and about noon the train ran by the depot at
Colliersville, twenty-six miles out. I was in the rear car with my
staff, dozing, but observed the train slacking speed and stopping
about half a mile beyond the depot. I noticed some soldiers
running to and fro, got out at the end of the car, and soon Colonel
Anthony (Silty-sixth Indiana), who commanded the post, rode up and
said that his pickets had just been driven in, and there was an
appearance of an attack by a large force of cavalry coming from the
southeast. I ordered the men to get off the train, to form on the
knoll near the railroad-cut, and soon observed a rebel officer
riding toward us with a white flag. Colonel Anthony and Colonel
Dayton (one of my aides) were sent to meet him, and to keep him in
conversation as long as possible. They soon returned, saying it
was the adjutant of the rebel general Chalmers, who demanded the
surrender of the place. I instructed them to return and give a
negative answer, but to delay him as much as possible, so as to
give us time for preparation. I saw Anthony, Dayton, and the rebel
bearer of the flag, in conversation, and the latter turn his horse
to ride back, when I ordered Colonel McCoy to run to the station,
and get a message over the wires as quick as possible to Memphis
and Germantown, to hurry forward Corse's division. I then ordered
the train to back to the depot, and drew back the battalion of
regulars to the small earth redoubt near it. The depot-building
was of brick, and had been punctured with loop-holes. To its east,
about two hundred yards, was a small square earthwork or fort, into
which were put a part of the regulars along with the company of the
Sixty-sixth Indiana already there. The rest of the men were
distributed into the railroad-cut, and in some shallow
rifle-trenches near the depot. We had hardly made these
preparations when the enemy was seen forming in a long line on the
ridge to the south, about four hundred yards off, and soon after two
parties of cavalry passed the railroad on both sides of us, cutting
the wires and tearing up some rails. Soon they opened on us with
artillery (of which we had none), and their men were dismounting and
preparing to assault. To the south of us was an extensive
cornfield, with the corn still standing, and on the other side was
the town of Colliersville. All the houses near, that could give
shelter to the enemy, were ordered to be set on fire, and the men
were instructed to keep well under cover and to reserve their fire
for the assault, which seemed inevitable. A long line of rebel
skirmishers came down through the cornfield, and two other parties
approached us along the railroad on both sides. In the fort was a
small magazine containing some cartridges. Lieutenant James, a
fine, gallant fellow, who was ordnance-officer on my staff, asked
leave to arm the orderlies and clerks with some muskets which he had
found in the depot, to which I consented; he marched them into the
magazine, issued cartridges, and marched back to the depot to assist
in its defense. Afterward he came to me, said a party of the enemy
had got into the woods near the depot, and was annoying him, and he
wanted to charge and drive it away. I advised him to be extremely
cautious, as our enemy vastly outnumbered us, and had every
advantage in position and artillery; but instructed him, if they got
too near, he might make a sally. Soon after, I heard a rapid fire
in that quarter, and Lieutenant. James was brought in on a
stretcher, with a ball through his breast, which I supposed to be

[After the fight we sent him back to Memphis, where his mother and
father came from their home on the North River to nurse him. Young
James was recovering from his wound, but was afterward killed by a
fall from his horse, near his home, when riding with the daughters
of Mr. Hamilton Fish, now Secretary of State.]

The enemy closed down on us several times, and got possession of
the rear of our train, from which they succeeded in getting five of
our horses, among them my favorite mare Dolly; but our men were
cool and practised shots (with great experience acquired at
Vicksburg), and drove them back. With their artillery they knocked
to pieces our locomotive and several of the cars, and set fire to
the train; but we managed to get possession again, and extinguished
the fire. Colonel Audenreid, aide-de-camp, was provoked to find
that his valise of nice shirts had been used to kindle the fire.
The fighting continued all round us for three or four hours, when
we observed signs of drawing off, which I attributed to the
rightful cause, the rapid approach of Corse's division, which
arrived about dark, having marched the whole distance from Memphis,
twenty-six miles, on the double-quick. The next day we repaired
damages to the railroad and locomotive, and went on to Corinth.

At Corinth, on the 16th, I received the following important

MEMPHIS, October 14, 1863--11 a.m.

Arrived this morning. Will be off in a few hours. My orders are
only to go to Cairo, and report from there by telegraph. McPherson
will be in Canton to-day. He will remain there until Sunday or
Monday next, and reconnoitre as far eastward as possible with
cavalry, in the mean time.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

WASHINGTON, October 14, 1863--1 p.m.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Corinth

Yours of the 10th is received. The important matter to be attended
to is that of supplies. When Eastport can be reached by boats, the
use of the railroad can be dispensed with; but until that time it
must be guarded as far as need. The Kentucky Railroad can barely
supply General Rosecrans. All these matters must be left to your
judgment as circumstances may arise. Should the enemy be so strong
as to prevent your going to Athena, or connecting with General
Rosecrans, you will nevertheless have assisted him greatly by
drawing away a part of the enemy's forces.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

On the 18th, with my staff and a small escort, I rode forward to
Burnsville, and on the 19th to Iuka, where, on the next day, I was
most agreeably surprised to hear of the arrival at Eastport (only
ten miles off) of two gunboats, under the command of Captain
Phelps, which had been sent up the Tennessee River by Admiral
Porter, to help us.

Satisfied that, to reach Athens and to communicate with General
Rosecrans, we should have to take the route north of the Tennessee
River, on the 24th I ordered the Fourth Division to cross at
Eastport with the aid of the gunboats, and to move to Florence.
About the same time, I received the general orders assigning
General Grant to command the Military Division of the Mississippi,
authorizing him, on reaching Chattanooga, to supersede General
Rosecrans by General George H. Thomas, with other and complete
authority, as set, forth in the following letters of General
Halleck, which were sent to me by General Grant; and the same
orders devolved on me the command of the Department and Army of the

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 1863

Major-General U. S. GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: You will receive herewith the orders of the President of
the United States, placing you in command of the Departments of the
Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee. The organization of these
departments will be changed as you may deem most practicable. You
will immediately proceed to Chattanooga, and relieve General
Rosecrans. You can communicate with Generals Burnside and Sherman
by telegraph. A summary of the orders sent to these officers will
be sent to you immediately. It is left optional with you to
supersede General Rosecrans by General G. H. Thomas or not. Any
other changes will be made on your request by telegram.

One of the first objects requiring your attention is the supply of
your armies. Another is the security of the passes in the Georgia
mountains, to shut out the enemy from Tennessee and Kentucky. You
will consult with General Meigs and Colonel Scott in regard to
transportation and supplies.

Should circumstances permit, I will visit you personally in a few
days for consultation.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 20, 1868.

Major-General GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: In compliance with my promise, I now proceed to give you
a brief statement of the objects aimed at by General Rosecrans and
General Burnside's movement into East Tennessee, and of the
measures directed to be taken to attain these objects.

It has been the constant desire of the government, from the
beginning of the war, to rescue the loyal inhabitants of East
Tennessee from the hands of the rebels, who fully appreciated the
importance of continuing their hold upon that country. In addition
to the large amount of agricultural products drawn from the upper
valley of the Tennessee, they also obtained iron and other
materials from the vicinity of Chattanooga. The possession of East
Tennessee would cut off one of their most important railroad
communications, and threaten their manufactories at Rome, Atlanta,

When General Buell was ordered into East Tennessee in the summer of
1882, Chattanooga was comparatively unprotected; but Bragg reached
there before Buell, and, by threatening his communications, forced
him to retreat on Nashville and Louisville. Again, after the
battle of Perryville, General Buell was urged to pursue Bragg's
defeated army, and drive it from East Tennessee. The same was
urged upon his successor, but the lateness of the season or other
causes prevented further operations after the battle of Stone

Last spring, when your movements on the Mississippi River had drawn
out of Tennessee a large force of the enemy, I again urged General
Rosecrans to take advantage of that opportunity to carry out his
projected plan of campaign, General Burnside being ready to
cooperate, with a diminished but still efficient force. But he
could not be persuaded to act in time, preferring to lie still till
your campaign should be terminated. I represented to him, but
without avail, that by this delay Johnston might be able to
reenforce Bragg with the troops then operating against you.

When General Rosecrans finally determined to advance, he was
allowed to select his own lines and plans for carrying out the
objects of the expedition. He was directed, however, to report his
movements daily, till he crossed the Tennessee, and to connect his
left, so far as possible, with General Burnside's right. General
Burnside was directed to move simultaneously, connecting his right,
as far as possible, with General Rosecrans's left so that, if the
enemy concentrated upon either army, the other could move to its
assistance. When General Burnside reached Kingston and Knoxville,
and found no considerable number of the enemy in East Tennessee, he
was instructed to move down the river and cooperate with General

These instructions were repeated some fifteen times, but were not
carried out, General Burnside alleging as an excuse that he
believed that Bragg was in retreat, and that General Rosecrans
needed no reenforcements. When the latter had gained possession of
Chattanooga he was directed not to move on Rome as he proposed, but
simply to hold the mountain-passes, so as to prevent the ingress of
the rebels into East Tennessee. That object accomplished, I
considered the campaign as ended, at least for the present. Future
operations would depend upon the ascertained strength and;
movements of the enemy. In other words, the main objects of the
campaign were the restoration of East Tennessee to the Union, and
by holding the two extremities of the valley to secure it from
rebel invasion.

The moment I received reliable information of the departure of
Longstreet's corps from the Army of the Potomac, I ordered forward
to General Rosecrans every available man in the Department of the
Ohio, and again urged General Burnside to move to his assistance.
I also telegraphed to Generals Hurlbut, Sherman, and yourself, to
send forward all available troops in your department. If these
forces had been sent to General Rosecrans by Nashville, they could
not have been supplied; I therefore directed them to move by
Corinth and the Tennessee River. The necessity of this has been
proved by the fact that the reinforcements sent to him from the
Army of the Potomac have not been able, for the want of railroad
transportation, to reach General Rosecrans's army in the field.

In regard to the relative strength of the opposing armies, it is
believed that General Rosecrans when he first moved against Bragg
had double, if not treble, his force. General Burnside, also, had
more than double the force of Buckner; and, even when Bragg and
Buckner united, Rosecrans's army was very greatly superior in
number. Even the eighteen thousand men sent from Virginia, under
Longstreet, would not have given the enemy the superiority. It is
now ascertained that the greater part of the prisoners parolled by
you at Vicksburg, and General Banks at Port Hudson, were illegally
and improperly declared exchanged, and forced into the ranks to
swell the rebel numbers at Chickamauga. This outrageous act, in
violation of the laws of war, of the cartel entered into by the
rebel authorities, and of all sense of honor, gives us a useful
lesson in regard to the character of the enemy with whom we are
contending. He neither regards the rules of civilized warfare, nor
even his most solemn engagements. You may, therefore, expect to
meet in arms thousands of unexchanged prisoners released by you and
others on parole, not to serve again till duly exchanged.

Although the enemy by this disgraceful means has been able to
concentrate in Georgia and Alabama a much larger force than we
anticipated, your armies will be abundantly able to defeat him.
Your difficulty will not be in the want of men, but in the means of
supplying them at this season of the year. A single-track railroad
can supply an army of sixty or seventy thousand men, with the usual
number of cavalry and artillery; but beyond that number, or with a
large mounted force, the difficulty of supply is very great.

I do not know the present condition of the road from Nashville to
Decatur, but, if practicable to repair it, the use of that triangle
will be of great assistance to you. I hope, also, that the recent
rise of water in the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers will enable
you to employ water transportation to Nashville, Eastport, or

If you reoccupy the passes of Lookout Mountain, which should never
have been given up, you will be able to use the railroad and river
from Bridgeport to Chattanooga. This seems to me a matter of vital
importance, and should receive your early attention.

I submit this summary in the hope that it will assist you in fully
understanding the objects of the campaign, and the means of
attaining these objects. Probably the Secretary of War, in his
interviews with you at Louisville, has gone over the same ground.
Whatever measures you may deem proper to adopt under existing
circumstances, you will receive all possible assistance from the
authorities at Washington. You have never, heretofore, complained
that such assistance has not been afforded you in your operations,
and I think you will have no cause of complaint in your present
campaign. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief

General Frank P. Blair, who was then ahead with the two divisions
of Osterhaus and John E. Smith, was temporarily assigned to the
command of the Fifteenth Corps. General Hurlbut remained at
Memphis in command of the Sixteenth Corps, and General McPherson at
Vicksburg with the Seventeenth. These three corps made up the Army
of the Tennessee. I was still busy in pushing forward the repairs
to the railroad bridge at Bear Creek, and in patching up the many
breaks between it and Tuscumbia, when on the 27th of October, as I
sat on the porch of a house, I was approached by a dirty,
black-haired individual with mixed dress and strange demeanor, who
inquired for me, and, on being assured that I was in fact the man,
he handed me a letter from General Blair at Tuscumbia, and another
short one, which was a telegraph-message from General Grant at
Chattanooga, addressed to me through General George Crook,
commanding at Huntsville, Alabama, to this effect:

Drop all work on Memphis & Charleston Railroad, cross the Tennessee
and hurry eastward with all possible dispatch toward Bridgeport,
till you meet further orders from me.


The bearer of this message was Corporal Pike, who described to me,
in his peculiar way, that General Crook had sent him in a canoe;
that he had paddled down the Tennessee River, over Muscle Shoals,
was fired at all the way by guerrillas, but on reaching Tuscumbia
he had providentially found it in possession of our troops. He had
reported to General Blair, who sent him on to me at Iuka. This
Pike proved to be a singular character; his manner attracted my
notice at once, and I got him a horse, and had him travel with us
eastward to about Elkton, whence I sent him back to General Crook
at Huntsville; but told him, if I could ever do him a personal
service, he might apply to me. The next spring when I was in
Chattanooga, preparing for the Atlanta campaign, Corporal Pike made
his appearance and asked a fulfillment of my promise. I inquired
what he wanted, and he said he wanted to do something bold,
something that would make him a hero. I explained to him, that we
were getting ready to go for Joe Johnston at Dalton, that I
expected to be in the neighborhood of Atlanta about the 4th of
July, and wanted the bridge across the Savannah River at Augusta,
Georgia, to be burnt about that time, to produce alarm and
confusion behind the rebel army. I explained to Pike that the
chances were three to one that he would be caught and hanged; but
the greater the danger the greater seemed to be his desire to
attempt it. I told him to select a companion, to disguise himself
as an East Tennessee refugee, work his way over the mountains into
North Carolina, and at the time appointed to float down the
Savannah River and burn that bridge. In a few days he had made his
preparations and took his departure. The bridge was not burnt, and
I supposed that Pike had been caught and hanged.

When we reached Columbia, South Carolina, in February, 1865, just
as we were leaving the town, in passing near the asylum, I heard my
name called, and saw a very dirty fellow followed by a file of men
running toward me, and as they got near I recognized Pike. He
called to me to identify him as one of my men; he was then a
prisoner under guard, and I instructed the guard to bring him that
night to my camp some fifteen miles up the road, which was done.
Pike gave me a graphic narrative of his adventures, which would
have filled a volume; told me how he had made two attempts to burn
the bridge, and failed; and said that at the time of our entering
Columbia he was a prisoner in the hands of the rebels, under trial
for his life, but in the confusion of their retreat he made his
escape and got into our lines, where he was again made a prisoner
by our troops because of his looks. Pike got some clothes, cleaned
up, and I used him afterward to communicate with Wilmington, North
Carolina. Some time after the war, he was appointed a lieutenant
of the Regular, Cavalry, and was killed in Oregon, by the
accidental discharge of a pistol. Just before his death he wrote
me, saying that he was tired of the monotony of garrison-life, and
wanted to turn Indian, join the Cheyennes on the Plains, who were
then giving us great trouble, and, after he had gained their
confidence, he would betray them into our hands. Of course I wrote
him that he must try and settle down and become a gentleman as well
as an officer, apply himself to his duties, and forget the wild
desires of his nature, which were well enough in time of war, but
not suited to his new condition as an officer; but, poor fellow I
he was killed by an accident, which probably saved him from a
slower but harder fate.

At Iuka I issued all the orders to McPherson and Hurlbut necessary
for the Department of the Tennessee during my absence, and,
further, ordered the collection of a force out of the Sixteenth
Corps, of about eight thousand men, to be commanded by General G.
M. Dodge, with orders to follow as far east as Athens, Tennessee,
there to await instructions. We instantly discontinued all
attempts to repair the Charleston Railroad; and the remaining three
divisions of the Fifteenth Corps marched to Eastport, crossed the
Tennessee River by the aid of the gunboats, a ferry-boat, and a
couple of transports which had come up, and hurried eastward.

In person I crossed on the 1st of November, and rode forward to
Florence, where I overtook Ewing's division. The other divisions
followed rapidly. On the road to Florence I was accompanied by my
staff, some clerks, and mounted orderlies. Major Ezra Taylor
was chief of artillery, and one of his sons was a clerk at
head-quarters. The latter seems to have dropped out of the column,
and gone to a farm house near the road. There was no organized
force of the rebel army north of the Tennessee River, but the
country was full of guerrillas. A party of these pounced down on
the farm, caught young Taylor and another of the clerks, and after
reaching Florence, Major Taylor heard of the capture of his son, and
learned that when last seen he was stripped of his hat and coat, was
tied to the tail-board of a wagon, and driven rapidly to the north
of the road we had traveled. The major appealed to me to do
something for his rescue. I had no cavalry to send in pursuit, but
knowing that there was always an understanding between these
guerrillas and their friends who staid at home, I sent for three or
four of the principal men of Florence (among them a Mr. Foster, who
had once been a Senator in Congress), explained to them the capture
of young Taylor and his comrade, and demanded their immediate
restoration. They, of course, remonstrated, denied all knowledge of
the acts of these guerrillas, and claimed to be peaceful citizens of
Alabama, residing at home. I insisted that these guerrillas were
their own sons and neighbors; that they knew their haunts, and could
reach them if they wanted, and they could effect the restoration to
us of these men; and I said, moreover, they must do it within
twenty-four hours, or I would take them, strip them of their hats
and coats, and tie them to the tail-boards of our wagons till they
were produced. They sent off messengers at once, and young Taylor
and his comrade were brought back the next day.

Resuming our march eastward by the large road, we soon reached Elk
River, which was wide and deep, and could only be crossed by a
ferry, a process entirely too slow for the occasion; so I changed
the route more by the north, to Elkton, Winchester, and Deckerd.
At this point we came in communication with the Army of the
Cumberland, and by telegraph with General Grant, who was at
Chattanooga. He reiterated his orders for me and my command to
hurry forward with all possible dispatch, and in person I reached
Bridgeport during the night of November 13th, my troops following
behind by several roads. At Bridgeport I found a garrison guarding
the railroad-bridge and pontoon bridge there, and staid with the
quartermaster, Colonel William G. Le Due (who was my school-mate at
How's School in 1836). There I received a dispatch from General
Grant, at Chattanooga, to come up in person, leaving my troops to
follow as fast as possible. At that time there were two or three
small steamboats on the river, engaged in carrying stores up as far
as Kelly's Ferry. In one of these I took passage, and on reaching
Kelly's Ferry found orderlies, with one of General Grant's private
horses, waiting for me, on which I rode into Chattanooga, November
14th. Of course, I was heartily welcomed by Generals Grant,
Thomas, and all, who realized the extraordinary efforts we had made
to come to their relief. The next morning we walked out to Fort
Wood, a prominent salient of the defenses of the place, and from
its parapet we had a magnificent view of the panorama. Lookout
Mountain, with its rebel flags and batteries, stood out boldly, and
an occasional shot fired toward Wauhatchee or Moccasin Point gave
life to the scene. These shots could barely reach Chattanooga, and
I was told that one or more shot had struck a hospital inside the
lines. All along Missionary Ridge were the tents of the rebel
beleaguering force; the lines of trench from Lookout up toward the
Chickamauga were plainly visible; and rebel sentinels, in a
continuous chain, were walking their posts in plain view, not a
thousand yards off. "Why," said I, "General Grant, you are
besieged;" and he said, "It is too true." Up to that moment I had
no idea that things were so bad. The rebel lines actually extended
from the river, below the town, to the river above, and the Army of
the Cumberland was closely held to the town and its immediate
defenses. General Grant pointed out to me a house on Missionary
Ridge, where General Bragg's headquarters were known to be. He
also explained the situation of affairs generally; that the mules
and horses of Thomas's army were so starved that they could not
haul his guns; that forage, corn, and provisions, were so scarce
that the men in hunger stole the few grains of corn that were given
to favorite horses; that the men of Thomas's army had been so
demoralized by the battle of Chickamauga that he feared they could
not be got out of their trenches to assume the offensive; that
Bragg had detached Longstreet with a considerable force up into
East Tennessee, to defeat and capture Burnside; that Burnside was
in danger, etc.; and that he (Grant) was extremely anxious to
attack Bragg in position, to defeat him, or at least to force him
to recall Longstreet. The Army of the Cumberland had so long been
in the trenches that he wanted my troops to hurry up, to take the
offensive first; after which, he had no doubt the Cumberland army
would fight well. Meantime the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, under
General Hooker, had been advanced from Bridgeport along the
railroad to Wauhatchee, but could not as yet pass Lookout Mountain.
A pontoon-bridge had been thrown across the Tennessee River at
Brown's Ferry, by which supplies were hauled into Chattanooga from
Kelly's and Wauhatchee..

Another bridge was in course of construction at Chattanooga, under
the immediate direction of Quartermaster-General Meigs, but at the
time all wagons, etc., had to be ferried across by a flying-bridge.
Men were busy and hard at work everywhere inside our lines, and
boats for another pontoon-bridge were being rapidly constructed
under Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, familiarly known as "Baldy
Smith," and this bridge was destined to be used by my troops, at a
point of the river about four miles above Chattanooga, just below
the mouth of the Chickamauga River. General Grant explained to me
that he had reconnoitred the rebel line from Lookout Mountain up to
Chickamauga, and he believed that the northern portion of
Missionary Ridge was not fortified at all; and he wanted me, as
soon as my troops got up, to lay the new pontoon-bridge by night,
cross over, and attack Bragg's right flank on that part of the
ridge abutting on Chickamauga Creek, near the tunnel; and he
proposed that we should go at once to look at the ground. In
company with Generals Thomas, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, we
crossed by the flying-bridge, rode back of the hills some four
miles, left our horses, and got on a hill overlooking the whole
ground about the mouth of the Chickamauga River, and across to the
Missionary Hills near the tunnel. Smith and I crept down behind a
fringe of trees that lined the river-bank, to the very point
selected for the new bridge, where we sat for some time, seeing the
rebel pickets on the opposite bank, and almost hearing their words.

Having seen enough, we returned to Chattanooga; and in order to
hurry up my command, on which so much depended, I started back to
Kelly's in hopes to catch the steamboat that same evening; but on
my arrival the boat had gone. I applied to the commanding officer,
got a rough boat manned by four soldiers, and started down the
river by night. I occasionally took a turn at the oars to relieve
some tired man, and about midnight we reached Shell Mound, where
General Whittaker, of Kentucky, furnished us a new and good crew,
with which we reached Bridgeport by daylight. I started Ewings
division in advance, with orders to turn aside toward Trenton, to
make the enemy believe we were going to turn Braggs left by pretty
much the same road Rosecrans had followed; but with the other three
divisions I followed the main road, via the Big Trestle at
Whitesides, and reached General Hooker's headquarters, just above
Wauhatchee, on the 20th; my troops strung all the way back to
Bridgeport. It was on this occasion that the Fifteenth Corps
gained its peculiar badge: as the men were trudging along the
deeply-cut, muddy road, of a cold, drizzly day, one of our Western
soldiers left his ranks and joined a party of the Twelfth Corps at
their camp-fire. They got into conversation, the Twelfth-Corps men
asking what troops we were, etc., etc. In turn, our fellow (who
had never seen a corps-badge, and noticed that every thing was
marked with a star) asked if they were all brigadier-generals. Of
course they were not, but the star was their corps-badge, and every
wagon, tent, hat, etc., had its star. Then the Twelfth-Corps men
inquired what corps he belonged to, and he answered, "The Fifteenth
Corps." "What is your badge?" "Why," said he (and he was an
Irishman), suiting the action to the word, "forty rounds in the
cartridge-box, and twenty in the pocket." At that time Blair
commanded the corps; but Logan succeeded soon after, and, hearing
the story, adopted the cartridge-box and forty rounds as the

The condition of the roads was such, and the bridge at Brown's so
frail, that it was not until the 23d that we got three of my
divisions behind the hills near the point indicated above
Chattanooga for crossing the river. It was determined to begin the
battle with these three divisions, aided by a division of Thomas's
army, commanded by General Jeff. C. Davis, that was already near
that point. All the details of the battle of Chattanooga, so far
as I was a witness, are so fully given in my official report
herewith, that I need add nothing to it. It was a magnificent
battle in its conception, in its execution, and in its glorious
results; hastened somewhat by the supposed danger of Burnside, at
Knoxville, yet so completely successful, that nothing is left for
cavil or fault-finding. The first day was lowering and overcast,
favoring us greatly, because we wanted to be concealed from Bragg,
whose position on the mountain-tops completely overlooked us and
our movements. The second day was beautifully clear, and many a
time, in the midst of its carnage and noise, I could not help
stopping to look across that vast field of battle, to admire its

The object of General Hooker's and my attacks on the extreme flanks
of Bragg's position was, to disturb him to such an extent, that
he would naturally detach from his centre as against us, so that
Thomas's army could break through his centre. The whole plan
succeeded admirably; but it was not until after dark that I learned
the complete success at the centre, and received General Grant's
orders to pursue on the north side of Chickamauga Creek:

TENNESSEE, Nov. 25, 1863

Major-General SHERMAN.

GENERAL: No doubt you witnessed the handsome manner in which
Thomas's troops carried Missionary Ridge this afternoon, and can
feel a just pride, too, in the part taken by the forces under your
command in taking first so much of the same range of hills, and
then in attracting the attention of so many of the enemy as to make
Thomas's part certain of success. The neat thing now will be to
relieve Burnside. I have heard from him to the evening of the 23d.
At that time he had from ten to twelve days' supplies, and spoke
hopefully of being able to hold out that length of time.

My plan is to move your forces out gradually until they reach the
railroad between Cleveland and Dalton. Granger will move up the
south side of the Tennessee with a column of twenty thousand men,
taking no wagons, or but few, with him. His men will carry four
days' rations, and the steamer Chattanooga, loaded with rations,
will accompany the expedition.

I take it for granted that Bragg's entire force has left. If not,
of course, the first thing is to dispose of him. If he has gone,
the only thing necessary to do to-morrow will be to send out a
reconnoissance to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy. Yours

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

P. S.-On reflection, I think we will push Bragg with all our
strength to-morrow, and try if we cannot out off a good portion of
his rear troops and trains. His men have manifested a strong
disposition to desert for some time past, and we will now give them
a chance. I will instruct Thomas accordingly. Move the advance
force early, on the most easterly road taken by the enemy.
U. S. G.

This compelled me to reverse our column, so as to use the bridge
across the Chickamauga at its mouth. The next day we struck the
rebel rear at Chickamauga Station, and again near Graysville.
There we came in contact with Hooker's and Palmer's troops, who had
reached Ringgold. There I detached Howard to cross Taylor's Ridge,
and strike the railroad which comes from the north by Cleveland to
Dalton. Hooker's troops were roughly handled at Ringgold, and the
pursuit was checked. Receiving a note from General Hooker, asking
help, I rode forward to Ringgold to explain the movement of Howard;
where I met General Grant, and learned that the rebels had again
retreated toward Dalton. He gave orders to discontinue the
pursuit, as he meant to turn his attention to General Burnside,
supposed to be in great danger at Knoxville, about one hundred and
thirty miles northeast. General Grant returned and spent part of
the night with me, at Graysville. We talked over matters
generally, and he explained that he had ordered General Gordon
Granger, with the Fourth Corps, to move forward rapidly to
Burnsides help, and that he must return to Chattanooga to push him.
By reason of the scarcity of food, especially of forage, he
consented that, instead of going back, I might keep out in the
country; for in motion I could pick up some forage and food,
especially on the Hiawassee River, whereas none remained in

Accordingly, on the 29th of November, my several columns marched to
Cleveland, and the next day we reached the Hiawassee at Charleston,
where the Chattanooga & Knoxville Railroad crosses it. The
railroad-bridge was partially damaged by the enemy in retreating,
but we found some abandoned stores. There and thereabouts I
expected some rest for my weary troops and horses; but, as I rode
into town, I met Colonel J. H. Wilson and C. A. Dana (Assistant
Secretary of War), who had ridden out from Chattanooga to find me,
with the following letter from General Grant, and copies of several
dispatches from General Burnside, the last which had been received
from him by way of Cumberland Gap:

TENNESSEE, Nov. 29, 1863

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN

News are received from Knoxville to the morning of the 27th. At
that time the place was still invested, but the attack on it was
not vigorous. Longstreet evidently determined to starve the
garrison out. Granger is on the way to Burnside's relief, but I
have lost all faith in his energy or capacity to manage an
expedition of the importance of this one. I am inclined to think,
therefore, I shall have to send you. Push as rapidly as you can to
the Hiawassee, and determine for yourself what force to take with
you from that point. Granger has his corps with him, from which
you will select in conjunction with the force now with you. In
plain words, you will assume command of all the forces now moving
up the Tennessee, including the garrison at Kingston, and from that
force, organize what you deem proper to relieve Burnside. The
balance send back to Chattanooga. Granger has a boat loaded with
provisions, which you can issue, and return the boat. I will have
another loaded, to follow you. Use, of course, as sparingly as
possible from the rations taken with you, and subsist off the
country all you can.

It is expected that Foster is moving, by this time, from Cumberland
Gap on Knoxville. I do not know what force he will have with him,
but presume it will range from three thousand five hundred to five
thousand I leave this matter to you, knowing that you will do
better acting upon your discretion than you could trammeled with
instructions. I will only add, that the last advices from Burnside
himself indicated his ability to hold out with rations only to
about the 3d of December. Very respectfully,

U. S. GRANT, Major-General commanding,

This showed that, on the 27th of November, General Burnside was in
Knoxville, closely besieged by the rebel General Longstreet; that
his provisions were short, and that, unless relieved by December
3d, he might have to surrender. General Grant further wrote that
General Granger, instead of moving with great rapidity as ordered,
seemed to move "slowly, and with reluctance;" and, although he
(General Grant) hated to call on me and on my tired troops, there
was no alternative. He wanted me to take command of every thing
within reach, and to hurry forward to Knoxville.

All the details of our march to Knoxville are also given in my
official report. By extraordinary efforts Long's small brigade of
cavalry reached Knoxville during the night of the 3d, purposely to
let Burnside know that I was rapidly approaching with an adequate
force to raise the siege.

With the head of my infantry column I reached Marysville, about
fifteen miles short of Knoxville, on the 5th of December; when I
received official notice from Burnside that Longstreet had raised
the siege, and had started in retreat up the valley toward
Virginia. Halting all the army, except Granger's two divisions, on
the morning of the 6th, with General Granger and some of my staff I
rode into Knoxville. Approaching from the south and west, we
crossed the Holston on a pontoon bridge, and in a large pen on the
Knoxville side I saw a fine lot of cattle, which did not look much
like starvation. I found General Burnside and staff domiciled in a
large, fine mansion, looking very comfortable, and in, a few words
he described to me the leading events, of the previous few days,
and said he had already given orders looking to the pursuit of
Longstreet. I offered to join in the pursuit, though in fact my
men were worn out, and suffering in that cold season and climate.

Indeed, on our way up I personally was almost frozen, and had to
beg leave to sleep in the house of a family at Athens.

Burnside explained to me that, reenforced by Granger's two
divisions of ten thousand men, he would be able to push Longstreet
out of East Tennessee, and he hoped to capture much of his
artillery and trains. Granger was present at our conversation, and
most unreasonably, I thought, remonstrated against being left;
complaining bitterly of what he thought was hard treatment to his
men and himself. I know that his language and manner at that time
produced on my mind a bad impression, and it was one of the causes
which led me to relieve him as a corps commander in the campaign of
the next spring. I asked General Burnside to reduce his wishes to
writing, which he did in the letter of December 7th, embodied in my
official report. General Burnside and I then walked along his
lines and examined the salient, known as Fort Sanders, where, some
days before, Longstreet had made his assault, and had sustained a
bloody repulse.

Returning to Burnside's quarters, we all sat down to a good dinner,
embracing roast-turkey. There was a regular dining table, with
clean tablecloth, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, etc., etc. I had
seen nothing of this kind in my field experience, and could not
help exclaiming that I thought "they were starving," etc.; but
Burnside explained that Longstreet had at no time completely
invested the place, and that he had kept open communication with
the country on the south side of the river Holston, more especially
with the French Broad settlements, from whose Union inhabitants he
had received a good supply of beef, bacon, and corn meal. Had I
known of this, I should not have hurried my men so fast; but until
I reached Knoxville I thought his troops there were actually in
danger of starvation. Having supplied General Burnside all the
help he wanted, we began our leisurely return to Chattanooga, which
we reached on the 16th; when General Grant in person ordered me to
restore to General Thomas the divisions of Howard and Davis, which
belonged to his army, and to conduct my own corps (the Fifteenth)
to North Alabama for winter-quarters.

ALABAMA December 19, 1863

Brigadier-General John A. RAWLINS, Chief of Staff to General GRANT,

GENERAL: For the first time, I am now at leisure to make an
official record of events with which the troops under my command
have been connected daring the eventful campaign which has just
closed. Dating the month of September last, the Fifteenth Army
Corps, which I had the honor to command, lay in camps along the Big
Black, about twenty miles east of Vicksburg, Mississippi. It
consisted of four divisions:

The First, commanded by Brigadier-General P. J. Osterhaus, was
composed of two brigades, led by Brigadier-General C. R. Woods and
Colonel J. A. Williamson (of the Fourth Iowa).

The Second, commanded by Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith, was
composed of two brigades, led by Brigadier-Generals Giles A. Smith
and J. A. J. Lightburn.

The Third, commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. Tuttle, was
composed of three brigades, led by Brigadier-Generals J. A. Mower
and R. P. Buckland, and Colonel J. J. Wood (of the Twelfth Iowa).

The Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Hugh Ewing, was composed
of three brigades, led by Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, Colonel
Loomis (Twenty-sixth Illinois), and Colonel J. R. Cockerill (of the
Seventieth Ohio).

On the 22d day of September I received a telegraphic dispatch from
General Grant, then at Vicksburg, commanding the Department of the
Tennessee, requiring me to detach one of my divisions to march to
Vicksburg, there to embark for Memphis, where it was to form a part
of an army to be sent to Chattanooga, to reenforce General
Rosecrans. I designated the First Division, and at 4 a. m. the
same day it marched for Vicksburg, and embarked the neat day.

On the 23d of September I was summoned to Vicksburg by the general
commanding, who showed me several dispatches from the general-
in-chief, which led him to suppose he would have to send me and my
whole corps to Memphis and eastward, and I was instructed to
prepare for such orders. It was explained to me that, in
consequence of the low stage of water in the Mississippi, boats had
arrived irregularly, and had brought dispatches that seemed to
conflict in their meaning, and that General John E. Smith's
division (of General McPherson's corps) had been ordered up to
Memphis, and that I should take that division and leave one of my
own in its stead, to hold the line of the Big Black. I detailed
my third division (General Tuttle) to remain and report to
Major-General McPherson, commanding the Seventeenth Corps, at
Vicksburg; and that of General John E. Smith, already started for
Memphis, was styled the Third Division, Fifteenth Corps, though it
still belongs to the Seventeenth Army Corps. This division is also
composed of three brigades, commanded by General Matthias, Colonel
J. B. Raum (of the Fifty-sixth Illinois), and Colonel J. I.
Alexander (of the Fifty-ninth Indiana).

The Second and Fourth Divisions were started for Vicksburg the
moment I was notified that boats were in readiness, and on the
27th of September I embarked in person in the steamer Atlantic,
for Memphis, followed by a fleet of boats conveying these
two divisions. Our progress was slow, on account of the
unprecedentedly low water in the Mississippi, and the scarcity of
coal and wood. We were compelled at places to gather fence-rails,
and to land wagons and haul wood from the interior to the boats;
but I reached Memphis during the night of the 2d of October, and
the other boats came in on the 3d and 4th.

On arrival at Memphis I saw General Hurlbut, and read all the
dispatches and letters of instruction of General Halleck, and
therein derived my instructions, which I construed to be as

To conduct the Fifteenth Army Corps, and all other troops which
could be spared from the line of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad,
to Athens, Alabama, and thence report by letter for orders to
General Rosecrans, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, at
Chattanooga; to follow substantially the railroad eastward,
repairing it as I moved; to look to my own line for supplies; and
in no event to depend on General Rosecrans for supplies, as the
roads to his rear were already overtaxed to supply his present

I learned from General Hurlbut that General Osterhaus's division
was already out in front of Corinth, and that General John E. Smith
was still at Memphis, moving his troops and material by railroad as
fast as its limited stock would carry them. General J. D. Webster
was superintendent of the railroad, and was enjoined to work night
and day, and to expedite the movement as rapidly as possible; but
the capacity of the road was so small, that I soon saw that I could
move horses, mules, and wagons faster by land, and therefore I
dispatched the artillery and wagons by the road under escort, and
finally moved the entire Fourth Division by land.

The enemy seems to have had early notice of this movement, and he
endeavored to thwart us from the start. A considerable force
assembled in a threatening attitude at Salem, south of Salisbury
Station; and General Carr, who commanded at Corinth, felt compelled
to turn back and use a part of my troops, that had already reached
Corinth, to resist the threatened attack.

On Sunday, October 11th, having put in motion my whole force, I
started myself for Corinth, in a special train, with the battalion
of the Thirteenth United States Regulars as escort. We reached
Collierville Station about noon, just in time to take part in the
defense made of that station by Colonel D. C. Anthony, of the
Sixty-sixth Indiana, against an attack made by General Chalmers
with a force of about three thousand cavalry, with eight pieces of
artillery. He was beaten off, the damage to the road repaired, and
we resumed our journey the next day, reaching Corinth at night.

I immediately ordered General Blair forward to Iuka, with the First
Division, and, as fast as I got troops up, pushed them forward of
Bear Creek, the bridge of which was completely destroyed, and an
engineer regiment, under command of Colonel Flag, was engaged in
its repairs.

Quite a considerable force of the enemy was assembled in our front,
near Tuscumbia, to resist our advance. It was commanded by General
Stephen D. Lee, and composed of Roddy's and Ferguson's brigades,
with irregular cavalry, amounting in the aggregate to about five

In person I moved from Corinth to Burnsville on the 18th, and to
Iuka on the 19th of October.

Osterhaus's division was in the advance, constantly skirmishing
with the enemy; he was supported by General Morgan L. Smith's, both
divisions under the general command of Major-General Blair.
General John E. Smith's division covered the working-party engaged
in rebuilding the railroad.

Foreseeing difficulty in crossing the Tennessee River, I had
written to Admiral Porter, at Cairo, asking him to watch the
Tennessee and send up some gunboats the moment the stage of water
admitted; and had also requested General Allen, quartermaster at
St. Louis, to dispatch to Eastport a steam ferry-boat.

The admiral, ever prompt and ready to assist us, had two fine
gunboats at Eastport, under Captain Phelps, the very day after my
arrival at Iuka; and Captain Phelps had a coal-barge decked over,
with which to cross our horses and wagons before the arrival of the

Still following literally the instructions of General Halleck, I
pushed forward the repairs of the railroad, and ordered General
Blair, with the two leading divisions, to drive the enemy beyond
Tuscumbia. This he did successfully, after a pretty severe fight
at Cane Creek, occupying Tuscumbia on the 27th of October.

In the meantime many important changes in command had occurred,
which I must note here, to a proper understanding of the case.

General Grant had been called from Vicksburg, and sent to
Chattanooga to command the military division of the Mississippi,
composed of the three Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, and
Tennessee; and the Department of the Tennessee had been devolved on
me, with instructions, however, to retain command of the army in
the field. At Iuka I made what appeared to me the best disposition
of matters relating to the department, giving General McPherson
full powers in Mississippi and General Hurlbut in West Tennessee,
and assigned General Blair to the command of the Fifteenth Army
Corps; and summoned General Hurlbut from Memphis, and General Dodge
from Corinth, and selected out of the Sixteenth Corps a force of
about eight thousand men, which I directed General Dodge to
organize with all expedition, and with it to follow me eastward.

On the 27th of October, when General Blair, with two divisions, was
at Tuscumbia, I ordered General Ewing, with the Fourth Division, to
cross the Tennessee (by means of the gunboats and scow) as rapidly
as possible at Eastport, and push forward to Florence, which he
did; and the same day a messenger from General Grant floated down
the Tennessee over Muscle Shoals, landed at Tuscumbia, and was sent
to me at Iuka. He bore a short message from the general to this
effect: "Drop all work on the railroad east of Bear Creek; push
your command toward Bridgeport till you meet orders;" etc.
Instantly the order was executed; the order of march was reversed,
and all the columns were directed to Eastport, the only place where
we could cross the Tennessee. At first we only had the gunboats
and coal-barge; but the ferry-boat and two transports arrived on
the 31st of October, and the work of crossing was pushed with all
the vigor possible. In person I crossed, and passed to the head of
the column at Florence on the 1st of November, leaving the rear
divisions to be conducted by General Blair, and marched to
Rogersville and Elk River. This was found impassable. To ferry
would have consumed to much time, and to build a bridge still more;
so there was no alternative but to turn up Elk River by way of
Gilbertsboro, Elkton, etc., to the stone bridge at Fayetteville,
where we crossed the Elk, and proceeded to Winchester and Deckerd.

At Fayetteville I received orders from General Grant to come to
Bridgeport with the Fifteenth Army Corps, and to leave General
Dodge's command at Pulaski, and along the railroad from Columbia to
Decatur. I instructed General Blair to follow with the Second and
First Divisions by way of New Market, Larkinsville, and Bellefonte,
while I conducted the other two divisions by way of Deckerd; the
Fourth Division crossing the mountain to Stevenson, and the Third
by University Place and Sweden's Cove.

In person I proceeded by Sweden's Cove and Battle Creek, reaching
Bridgeport on the night of November 13th. I immediately
telegraphed to the commanding general my arrival, and the positions
of my several divisions, and was summoned to Chattanooga. I took
the first steamboat daring the night of the 14th for Belly's Ferry,
and rode into Chattanooga on the 16th. I then learned the part
assigned me in the coming drama, was supplied with the necessary
maps and information, and rode, during the 18th, in company with
Generals Grant, Thomas, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, to the
positions occupied on the west bank of the Tennessee, from which
could be seen the camps of the enemy, compassing Chattanooga and
the line of Missionary Hills, with its terminus on Chickamauga
Creek, the point that I was expected to take, hold, and fortify.
Pontoons, with a full supply of balks and chesses, had been
prepared for the bridge over the Tennessee, and all things had been
prearranged with a foresight that elicited my admiration. From the
hills we looked down on the amphitheatre of Chattanooga as on a
map, and nothing remained but for me to put my troops in the
desired position. The plan contemplated that, in addition to
crossing the Tennessee River and making a lodgment on the terminus
of Missionary Ridge, I should demonstrate against Lookout Mountain,
near Trenton, with a part of my command.

All in Chattanooga were impatient for action, rendered almost acute
by the natural apprehensions felt for the safety of General
Burnside in East Tennessee.

My command had marched from Memphis, three hundred and thirty
miles, and I had pushed them as fast as the roads and distance
would admit, but I saw enough of the condition of men and animals
in Chattanooga to inspire me with renewed energy. I immediately
ordered my leading division (General Ewing's) to march via
Shellmound to Trenton, demonstrating against Lookout Ridge, but to
be prepared to turn quickly and follow me to Chattanooga and in
person I returned to Bridgeport, rowing a boat down the Tennessee
from Belly's Ferry, and immediately on arrival put in motion my
divisions in the order in which they had arrived. The bridge of
boats at Bridgeport was frail, and, though used day and night, our
passage was slow; and the road thence to Chattanooga was dreadfully
cut up and encumbered with the wagons of the other troops stationed
along the road. I reached General Hooker's headquarters during a
rain, in the afternoon of the 20th, and met General Grant's orders
for the general attack on the next day. It was simply impossible
for me to fulfill my part in time; only one division (General John
E. Smith's) was in position. General Ewing was still at Trenton,
and the other two were toiling along the terrible road from
Shellmound to Chattanooga. No troops ever were or could be in
better condition than mine, or who labored harder to fulfill their
part. On a proper representation, General Grant postponed the
attack. On the 21st I got the Second Division over Brown's-Ferry
Bridge, and General Ewing got up; but the bridge broke repeatedly,
and delays occurred which no human sagacity could prevent. All
labored night and day, and General Ewing got over on the 23d; but
my rear division was cut off by the broken bridge at Brown's Ferry,
and could not join me. I offered to go into action with my three
divisions, supported by General Jeff. C. Davis, leaving one of my
best divisions (Osterhaus's) to act with General Hooker against
Lookout Mountain. That division has not joined me yet, but I know
and feel that it has served the country well, and that it has
reflected honor on the Fifteenth Army Corps and the Army of the
Tennessee. I leave the record of its history to General Hooker, or
whomsoever has had its services during the late memorable events,
confident that all will do it merited honor.

At last, on the 28d of November, my three divisions lay behind the
hills opposite the mouth of the Chickamauga. I dispatched the
brigade of the Second Division, commanded by General Giles A.
Smith, under cover of the hills, to North Chickamauga Creek, to man
the boats designed for the pontoon-bridge, with orders (at
midnight) to drop down silently to a point above the mouth of the
South Chickamauga, there land two regiments, who were to move along
the river-bank quietly, and capture the enemy's river-pickets.

General Giles A. Smith then was to drop rapidly below the month of
the Chickamauga, disembark the rest of his brigade, and dispatch
the boats across for fresh loads. These orders were skillfully
executed, and every rebel picket but one was captured. The balance
of General Morgan L. Smith's division was then rapidly ferried
across; that of General John E. Smith followed, and by daylight of
November 24th two divisions of about eight thousand men were on the
east bank of the Tennessee, and had thrown up a very respectable
rifle-trench as a tete du pont. As soon as the day dawned, some of
the boats were taken from the use of ferrying, and a pontoon-bridge
was begun, under the immediate direction of Captain Dresser, the
whole planned and supervised by General William F. Smith in person.
A pontoon-bridge was also built at the same time over Chickamanga
Creek, near its mouth, giving communication with the two regiments
which had been left on the north side, and fulfilling a most
important purpose at a later stage of the drama. I will here bear
my willing testimony to the completeness of this whole business.
All the officers charged with the work were present, and manifested
a skill which I cannot praise too highly. I have never beheld any
work done so quietly, so well; and I doubt if the history of war
can show a bridge of that extent (viz., thirteen hundred and fifty
feet) laid so noiselessly and well, in so short a time. I
attribute it to the genius and intelligence of General William F.
Smith. The steamer Dunbar arrived up in the course of the morning,
and relieved Ewing's division of the labor of rowing across; but by
noon the pontoon-bridge was done, and my three divisions were
across, with men, horses, artillery, and every thing.

General Jeff. C. Davis's division was ready to take the bridge, and
I ordered the columns to form in order to carry the Missionary
Hills. The movement had been carefully explained to all division
commanders, and at 1 p.m. we marched from the river in three
columns in echelon: the left, General Morgan L. Smith, the column
of direction, following substantially Chickamauga Creek; the
centre, General, John E. Smith, in columns, doubled on the centre,
at one brigade interval to the right and rear; the right, General
Ewing, in column at the same distance to the right rear, prepared
to deploy to the right, on the supposition that we would meet an
enemy in that direction. Each head of column was covered by a good
line of skirmishers, with supports. A light drizzling rain
prevailed, and the clouds hung low, cloaking our movement from the
enemy's tower of observation on Lookout Mountain. We soon gained
the foothills; our skirmishers crept up the face of the hills,
followed by their supports, and at 3.30 p.m. we had gained, with no
loss, the desired point. A brigade of each division was pushed
rapidly to the top of the hill, and the enemy for the first time
seemed to realize the movement, but too late, for we were in
possession. He opened with artillery, but General Ewing soon got
some of Captain Richardson's guns up that steep hill and gave back
artillery, and the enemy's skirmishers made one or two ineffectual
dashes at General Lightburn, who had swept round and got a farther
hill, which was the real continuation of the ridge. From studying
all the maps, I had inferred that Missionary Ridge was a continuous
hill; but we found ourselves on two high points, with a deep
depression between us and the one immediately over the tunnel,
which was my chief objective point. The ground we had gained,
however, was so important, that I could leave nothing to chance,
and ordered it to be fortified during the night. One brigade of
each division was left on the hill, one of General Morgan L.
Smith's closed the gap to Chickamauga Creek, two of General John E.
Smith's were drawn back to the base in reserve, and General Ewing's
right was extended down into the plain, thus crossing the ridge in
a general line, facing southeast.

The enemy felt our left flank about 4 p.m., and a pretty smart
engagement with artillery and muskets ensued, when he drew off; but
it cost us dear, for General Giles A. Smith was severely wounded,
and had to go to the rear; and the command of the brigade devolved
on Colonel Topper (One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois), who managed
it with skill during the rest of the operations. At the moment of
my crossing the bridge, General Howard appeared, having come with
three regiments from Chattanooga, along the east bank of the
Tennessee, connecting my new position with that of the main army in
Chattanooga. He left the three regiments attached temporarily to
Gen. Ewing's right, and returned to his own corps at Chattanooga.
As night closed in, I ordered General Jeff. C. Davis to keep one of
his brigades at the bridge, one close up to my position, and one
intermediate. Thus we passed the night, heavy details being kept
busy at work on the intrenchments on the hill. During the night
the sky cleared away bright, a cold frost filled the air, and our
camp-fires revealed to the enemy and to our friends in Chattanooga
our position on Missionary Ridge. About midnight I received, at
the hands of Major Rowley (of General Grant's staff), orders to
attack the enemy at "dawn of day," with notice that General Thomas
would attack in force early in the day. Accordingly, before day I
was in the saddle, attended by all my staff; rode to the extreme
left of our position near Chickamauga Creek; thence up the hill,
held by General Lightburn; and round to the extreme right of
General Ewing.

Catching as accurate an idea of the ground as possible by the dim
light of morning, I saw that our line of attack was in the
direction of Missionary Ridge, with wings supporting on either
flank. Quite a valley lay between us and the next hill of the
series, and this hill presented steep sides, the one to the west
partially cleared, but the other covered with the native forest.
The crest of the ridge was narrow and wooded. The farther point of
this hill was held-by the enemy with a breastwork of logs and fresh
earth, filled with men and two guns. The enemy was also seen in
great force on a still higher hill beyond the tunnel, from which he
had a fine plunging fire on the hill in dispute. The gorge
between, through which several roads and the railroad-tunnel pass,
could not be seen from our position, but formed the natural place
d'armes, where the enemy covered his masses to resist our
contemplated movement of turning his right flank and endangering
his communications with his depot at Chickamauga Station.

As soon as possible, the following dispositions were made: The
brigades of Colonels Cockrell and Alexander, and General Lightburn,
were to hold our hill as the key-point. General Corse, with as
much of his brigade as could operate along the narrow ridge, was to
attack from our right centre. General Lightburn was to dispatch a
good regiment from his position to cooperate with General Corse;
and General Morgan L. Smith was to move along the east base of
Missionary Ridge, connecting with General Corse; and Colonel
Loomis, in like manner, to move along the west bank, supported by
the two reserve brigades of General John E. Smith.

The sun had hardly risen before General Corse had completed his
preparations and his bugle sounded the "forward !" The Fortieth
Illinois, supported by the Forty-sixth Ohio, on our right centre,
with the Thirtieth Ohio (Colonel Jones), moved down the face of our
hill, and up that held by the enemy. The line advanced to within
about eighty yards of the intrenched position, where General Corse
found a secondary crest, which he gained and held. To this point
he called his reserves, and asked for reenforcements, which were
sent; but the space was narrow, and it was not well to crowd the
men, as the enemy's artillery and musketry fire swept the approach
to his position, giving him great advantage. As soon as General
Corse had made his preparations, he assaulted, and a close, severe
contest ensued, which lasted more than an hour, gaining and losing
ground, but never the position first obtained, from which the enemy
in vain attempted to drive him. General Morgan L. Smith kept
gaining ground on the left spurs of Missionary Ridge, and Colonel
Loomis got abreast of the tunnel and railroad embankment on his
aide, drawing the enemy's fire, and to that extent relieving the
assaulting party on the hill-crest. Captain Callender had four of
his guns on General Ewing's hill, and Captain Woods his Napoleon
battery on General Lightburn's; also, two guns of Dillon's battery
were with Colonel Alexander's brigade. All directed their fire as
carefully as possible, to clear the hill to our front, without
endangering our own men. The fight raged furiously about 10 a.m.,
when General Corse received a severe wound, was brought off the
field, and the command of the brigade and of the assault at that
key-point devolved on that fine young, gallant officer, Colonel
Walcutt, of the Forty-sixth Ohio, who fulfilled his part manfully.
He continued the contest, pressing forward at all points. Colonel
Loomis had made good progress to the right, and about 2 p.m.,
General John E. Smith, judging the battle to be most severe on the
hill, and being required to support General Ewing, ordered up
Colonel Raum's and General Matthias's brigades across the field to
the summit that was being fought for. They moved up under a heavy
fire of cannon and musketry, and joined Colonel Walcutt; but the
crest was so narrow that they necessarily occupied the west face of
the hill. The enemy, at the time being massed in great strength in
the tunnel-gorge, moved a large force under cover of the ground and
the thick bushes, and suddenly appeared on the right rear of this
command. The suddenness of the attack disconcerted the men,
exposed as they were in the open field; they fell back in some
disorder to the lower edge of the field, and reformed. These two
brigades were in the nature of supports, and did not constitute a
part of the real attack.

The movement, seen from Chattanooga (five miles off ) with
spy-glasses, gave rise to the report, which even General Meiga has
repeated, that we were repulsed on the left. It was not so. The
real attacking columns of General Corse, Colonel Loomis, and
General Smith, were not repulsed. They engaged in a close struggle
all day persistently, stubbornly, and well. When the two reserve
brigades of General John E. Smith fell back as described, the enemy
made a show of pursuit, but were in their turn caught in flank by
the well-directed fire of our brigade on the wooded crest, and
hastily sought cover behind the hill. Thus matters stood about 3
p.m. The day was bright and clear, and the amphitheatre of
Chattanooga sat in beauty at our feet. I had watched for the
attack of General Thomas "early in the day." Column after column
of the enemy was streaming toward me; gun after gun poured its
concentric shot on us, from every hill and spur that gave a view of
any part of the ground held by us. An occasional shot from Fort
Wood and Orchard Knob, and some musketry-fire and artillery over
about Lookout Mountain, was all that I could detect on our side;
but about 3 p.m. I noticed the white line of musketry-fire in
front of Orchard Knoll extending farther and farther right and left
and on. We could only hear a faint echo of sound, but enough was
seen to satisfy me that General Thomas was at last moving on the
centre. I knew that our attack had drawn vast masses of the enemy
to our flank, and felt sure of the result. Some guns which had
been firing on us all day were silent, or were turned in a
different direction.

The advancing line of musketry-fire from Orchard Knoll disappeared
to us behind a spar of the hill, and could no longer be seen; and
it was not until night closed in that I knew that the troops in
Chattanooga had swept across Missionary Ridge and broken the
enemy's centre. Of course, the victory was won, and pursuit was
the next step.

I ordered General Morgan L. Smith to feel to the tunnel, and it was
found vacant, save by the dead and wounded of our own and the enemy
commingled. The reserve of General Jeff. C. Davis was ordered to
march at once by the pontoon-bridge across Chickamauga Creek, at
its mouth, and push forward for the depot.

General Howard had reported to me in the early part of the day,
with the remainder of his army corps (the Eleventh), and had been
posted to connect my left with Chickamauga Creek. He was ordered
to repair an old broken bridge about two miles up the Chickamauga,
and to follow General Davis at 4 a.m., and the Fifteenth Army Corps
was ordered to follow at daylight. But General Howard found that
to repair the bridge was more of a task than was at first supposed,
and we were all compelled to cross the Chickamauga on the new
pontoon-bridge at its mouth. By about 11 a.m. General Jeff. C.
Davis's division reached the depot, just in time to see it in
flames. He found the enemy occupying two hills, partially
intrenched, just beyond the depot. These he soon drove away.
The depot presented a scene of desolation that war alone exhibits
--corn-meal and corn in huge burning piles, broken wagons, abandoned
caissons, two thirty-two-pounder rifled-guns with carriages burned,
pieces of pontoons, balks and chesses, etc., destined doubtless for
the famous invasion of Kentucky, and all manner of things, burning
and broken. Still, the enemy kindly left us a good supply of forage
for our horses, and meal, beans, etc., for our men.

Pausing but a short while, we passed on, the road filled with
broken wagons and abandoned caissons, till night. Just as the head
of the column emerged from a dark, miry swamp, we encountered the
rear-guard of the retreating enemy. The fight was sharp, but the
night closed in so dark that we could not move. General Grant came
up to us there. At daylight we resumed the march, and at
Graysville, where a good bridge spanned the Chickamauga, we found
the corps of General Palmer on the south bank, who informed us that
General Hooker was on a road still farther south, and we could hear
his guns near Ringgold.

As the roads were filled with all the troops they could possibly
accommodate, I turned to the east, to fulfill another part of the

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