Part 14 out of 16

Sheridan rejoined the Army of the Potomac from the raid on which
he started from Spottsylvania, having destroyed the depots at
Beaver Dam and Ashland stations, four trains of cars, large
supplies of rations, and many miles of railroad-track;
recaptured about four hundred of our men on their way to
Richmond as prisoners of war; met and defeated the enemy's
cavalry at Yellow Tavern; carried the first line of works around
Richmond (but finding the second line too strong to be carried by
assault), recrossed to the north bank of the Chickahominy at
Meadow Bridge under heavy fire, and moved by a detour to
Haxall's Landing, on the James River, where he communicated with
General Butler. This raid had the effect of drawing off the
whole of the enemy's cavalry force, making it comparatively easy
to guard our trains.

General Butler moved his main force up the James River, in
pursuance of instructions, on the 4th of May, General Gillmore
having joined him with the tenth corps. At the same time he
sent a force of one thousand eight hundred cavalry, by way of
West Point, to form a junction with him wherever he might get a
foothold, and a force of three thousand cavalry, under General
Kautz, from Suffolk, to operate against the road south of
Petersburg and Richmond. On the 5th, he occupied, without
opposition, both City Point and Bermuda Hundred, his movement
being a complete surprise. On the 6th, he was in position with
his main army, and commenced intrenching. On the 7th he made a
reconnoissance against the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad,
destroying a portion of it after some fighting. On the 9th he
telegraphed as follows:

May 9, 1864.

"HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

"Our operations may be summed up in a few words. With one
thousand seven hundred cavalry we have advanced up the
Peninsula, forced the Chickahominy, and have safely, brought
them to their present position. These were colored cavalry, and
are now holding our advance pickets towards Richmond.

"General Kautz, with three thousand cavalry from Suffolk, on the
same day with our movement up James River, forced the Black
Water, burned the railroad bridge at Stony Creek, below
Petersburg, cutting into Beauregard's force at that point.

"We have landed here, intrenched ourselves, destroyed many miles
of railroad, and got a position which, with proper supplies, we
can hold out against the whole of Lee's army. I have ordered up
the supplies.

"Beauregard, with a large portion of his force, was left south
by the cutting of the railroads by Kautz. That portion which
reached Petersburg under Hill I have whipped to-day, killing and
wounding many, and taking many prisoners, after a severe and
well-contested fight.

"General Grant will not be troubled with any further
reinforcements to Lee from Beauregard's force.

"BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General."

On the evening of the 13th and morning of the 14th he carried a
portion of the enemy's first line of defences at Drury's Bluff,
or Fort Darling, with small loss. The time thus consumed from
the 6th lost to us the benefit of the surprise and capture of
Richmond and Petersburg, enabling, as it did, Beauregard to
collect his loose forces in North and South Carolina, and bring
them to the defence of those places. On the 16th, the enemy
attacked General Butler in his position in front of Drury's
Bluff. He was forced back, or drew back, into his intrenchments
between the forks of the James and Appomattox rivers, the enemy
intrenching strongly in his front, thus covering his railroads,
the city, and all that was valuable to him. His army,
therefore, though in a position of great security, was as
completely shut off from further operations directly against
Richmond as if it had been in a bottle strongly corked. It
required but a comparatively small force of the enemy to hold it

On the 12th, General Kautz, with his cavalry, was started on a
raid against the Danville Railroad, which he struck at
Coalfield, Powhatan, and Chula Stations, destroying them, the
railroad-track, two freight trains, and one locomotive, together
with large quantities of commissary and other stores; thence,
crossing to the South Side Road, struck it at Wilson's,
Wellsville, and Black's and White's Stations, destroying the
road and station-houses; thence he proceeded to City Point,
which he reached on the 18th.

On the 19th of April, and prior to the movement of General
Butler, the enemy, with a land force under General Hoke and an
iron-clad ram, attacked Plymouth, N. C., commanded by General H.
W. Wessells, and our gunboats there, and, after severe fighting,
the place was carried by assault, and the entire garrison and
armament captured. The gunboat Smithfield was sunk, and the
Miami disabled.

The army sent to operate against Richmond having hermetically
sealed itself up at Bermuda Hundred, the enemy was enabled to
bring the most, if not all, the reinforcements brought from the
south by Beauregard against the Army of the Potomac. In addition
to this reinforcement, a very considerable one, probably not less
than fifteen thousand men, was obtained by calling in the
scattered troops under Breckinridge from the western part of

The position of Bermuda Hundred was as easy to defend as it was
difficult to operate from against the enemy. I determined,
therefore, to bring from it all available forces, leaving enough
only to secure what had been gained; and accordingly, on the 22d,
I directed that they be sent forward, under command of
Major-General W. F. Smith, to join the Army of the Potomac.

On the 24th of May, the 9th army corps, commanded by
Major-General A. E. Burnside, was assigned to the Army of the
Potomac, and from this time forward constituted a portion of
Major-General Meade's command.

Finding the enemy's position on the North Anna stronger than
either of his previous ones, I withdrew on the night of the 26th
to the north bank of the North Anna, and moved via Hanover Town
to turn the enemy's position by his right.

Generals Torbert's and Merritt's divisions of cavalry, under
Sheridan, and the 6th corps, led the advance, crossed the
Pamunkey River at Hanover Town, after considerable fighting, and
on the 28th the two divisions of cavalry had a severe, but
successful engagement with the enemy at Hawes's Shop. On the
29th and 30th we advanced, with heavy skirmishing, to the
Hanover Court House and Cold Harbor Road, and developed the
enemy's position north of the Chickahominy. Late on the evening
of the last day the enemy came out and attacked our left, but was
repulsed with very considerable loss. An attack was immediately
ordered by General Meade, along his whole line, which resulted
in driving the enemy from a part of his intrenched skirmish line.

On the 31st, General Wilson's division of cavalry destroyed the
railroad bridges over the South Anna River, after defeating the
enemy's cavalry. General Sheridan, on the same day, reached
Cold Harbor, and held it until relieved by the 6th corps and
General Smith's command, which had just arrived, via White
House, from General Butler's army.

On the 1st day of June an attack was made at five P.M. by the
6th corps and the troops under General Smith, the other corps
being held in readiness to advance on the receipt of orders.
This resulted in our carrying and holding the enemy's first line
of works in front of the right of the 6th corps, and in front of
General Smith. During the attack the enemy made repeated
assaults on each of the corps not engaged in the main attack,
but was repulsed with heavy loss in every instance. That night
he made several assaults to regain what he had lost in the day,
but failed. The 2d was spent in getting troops into position
for an attack on the 3d. On the 3d of June we again assaulted
the enemy's works, in the hope of driving him from his
position. In this attempt our loss was heavy, while that of the
enemy, I have reason to believe, was comparatively light. It was
the only general attack made from the Rapidan to the James which
did not inflict upon the enemy losses to compensate for our own
losses. I would not be understood as saying that all previous
attacks resulted in victories to our arms, or accomplished as
much as I had hoped from them; but they inflicted upon the enemy
severe losses, which tended, in the end, to the complete
overthrow of the rebellion.

From the proximity of the enemy to his defences around Richmond,
it was impossible, by any flank movement, to interpose between
him and the city. I was still in a condition to either move by
his left flank, and invest Richmond from the north side, or
continue my move by his right flank to the south side of the
James. While the former might have been better as a covering
for Washington, yet a full survey of all the ground satisfied me
that it would be impracticable to hold a line north and east of
Richmond that would protect the Fredericksburg Railroad, a long,
vulnerable line, which would exhaust much of our strength to
guard, and that would have to be protected to supply the army,
and would leave open to the enemy all his lines of communication
on the south side of the James. My idea, from the start, had
been to beat Lee's army north of Richmond, if possible. Then,
after destroying his lines of communication north of the James
River, to transfer the army to the south side, and besiege Lee
in Richmond, or follow him south if he should retreat. After
the battle of the Wilderness, it was evident that the enemy
deemed it of the first importance to run no risks with the army
he then had. He acted purely on the defensive, behind
breastworks, or feebly on the offensive immediately in front of
them, and where, in case of repulse, he could easily retire
behind them. Without a greater sacrifice of life than I was
willing to make, all could not be accomplished that I had
designed north of Richmond. I therefore determined to continue
to hold substantially the ground we then occupied, taking
advantage of any favorable circumstances that might present
themselves, until the cavalry could be sent to Charlottesville
and Gordonsville to effectually break up the railroad connection
between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg; and
when the cavalry got well off, to move the army to the south
side of the James River, by the enemy's right flank, where I
felt I could cut off all his sources of supply, except by the

On the 7th, two divisions of cavalry, under General Sheridan,
got off on the expedition against the Virginia Central Railroad,
with instructions to Hunter, whom I hoped he would meet near
Charlottesville, to join his forces to Sheridan's, and after the
work laid out for them was thoroughly done, to join the Army of
the Potomac by the route laid down in Sheridan's instructions.

On the 10th of June, General Butler sent a force of infantry,
under General Gillmore, and of cavalry under General Kautz, to
capture Petersburg, if possible, and destroy the railroad and
common bridges across the Appomattox. The cavalry carried the
works on the south side, and penetrated well in towards the
town, but were forced to retire. General Gillmore, finding the
works which he approached very strong, and deeming an assault
impracticable, returned to Bermuda Hundred without attempting

Attaching great importance to the possession of Petersburg, I
sent back to Bermuda Hundred and City Point, General Smith's
command by water, via the White House, to reach there in advance
of the Army of the Potomac. This was for the express purpose of
securing Petersburg before the enemy, becoming aware of our
intention, could reinforce the place.

The movement from Cold Harbor commenced after dark on the
evening of the 12th. One division of cavalry, under General
Wilson, and the 5th corps, crossed the Chickahominy at Long
Bridge, and moved out to White Oak Swamp, to cover the crossings
of the other corps. The advance corps reached James River, at
Wilcox's Landing and Charles City Court House, on the night of
the 13th.

During three long years the Armies of the Potomac and Northern
Virginia had been confronting each other. In that time they had
fought more desperate battles than it probably ever before fell
to the lot of two armies to fight, without materially changing
the vantage ground of either. The Southern press and people,
with more shrewdness than was displayed in the North, finding
that they had failed to capture Washington and march on to New
York, as they had boasted they would do, assumed that they only
defended their Capital and Southern territory. Hence, Antietam,
Gettysburg, and all the other battles that had been fought, were
by them set down as failures on our part, and victories for
them. Their army believed this. It produced a morale which
could only be overcome by desperate and continuous hard
fighting. The battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North
Anna and Cold Harbor, bloody and terrible as they were on our
side, were even more damaging to the enemy, and so crippled him
as to make him wary ever after of taking the offensive. His
losses in men were probably not so great, owing to the fact that
we were, save in the Wilderness, almost invariably the attacking
party; and when he did attack, it was in the open field. The
details of these battles, which for endurance and bravery on the
part of the soldiery, have rarely been surpassed, are given in
the report of Major-General Meade, and the subordinate reports
accompanying it.

During the campaign of forty-three days, from the Rapidan to the
James River, the army had to be supplied from an ever-shifting
base, by wagons, over narrow roads, through a densely wooded
country, with a lack of wharves at each new base from which to
conveniently discharge vessels. Too much credit cannot,
therefore, be awarded to the quartermaster and commissary
departments for the zeal and efficiency displayed by them. Under
the general supervision of the chief quartermaster,
Brigadier-General R. Ingalls, the trains were made to occupy all
the available roads between the army and our water-base, and but
little difficulty was experienced in protecting them.

The movement in the Kanawha and Shenandoah valleys, under
General Sigel, commenced on the 1st of May. General Crook, who
had the immediate command of the Kanawha expedition, divided his
forces into two columns, giving one, composed of cavalry, to
General Averell. They crossed the mountains by separate routes.
Averell struck the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, near
Wytheville, on the 10th, and proceeding to New River and
Christiansburg, destroyed the road, several important bridges
and depots, including New River Bridge, forming a junction with
Crook at Union on the 15th. General Sigel moved up the
Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy at New Market on the 15th, and,
after a severe engagement, was defeated with heavy loss, and
retired behind Cedar Creek. Not regarding the operations of
General Sigel as satisfactory, I asked his removal from command,
and Major-General Hunter appointed to supersede him. His
instructions were embraced in the following dispatches to
Major-General H. W. Halleck, chief of staff of the army:

"May 20, 1864.

* * * * * * *
"The enemy are evidently relying for supplies greatly on such as
are brought over the branch road running through Staunton. On
the whole, therefore, I think it would be better for General
Hunter to move in that direction; reach Staunton and
Gordonsville or Charlottesville, if he does not meet too much
opposition. If he can hold at bay a force equal to his own, he
will be doing good service. * * *

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

"JERICHO FORD, VA., May 25, 1864.

"If Hunter can possibly get to Charlottesville and Lynchburg, he
should do so, living on the country. The railroads and canal
should be destroyed beyond possibility of repairs for weeks.
Completing this, he could find his way back to his original
base, or from about Gordonsville join this army.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

General Hunter immediately took up the offensive, and, moving up
the Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy on the 5th of June at
Piedmont, and, after a battle of ten hours, routed and defeated
him, capturing on the field of battle one thousand five hundred
men, three pieces of artillery, and three hundred stand of small
arms. On the 8th of the same month he formed a junction with
Crook and Averell at Staunton, from which place he moved direct
on Lynchburg, via Lexington, which place he reached and invested
on the 16th day of June. Up to this time he was very successful;
and but for the difficulty of taking with him sufficient ordnance
stores over so long a march, through a hostile country, he would,
no doubt, have captured that, to the enemy important, point. The
destruction of the enemy's supplies and manufactories was very
great. To meet this movement under General Hunter, General Lee
sent a force, perhaps equal to a corps, a part of which reached
Lynchburg a short time before Hunter. After some skirmishing on
the 17th and 18th, General Hunter, owing to a want of ammunition
to give battle, retired from before the place. Unfortunately,
this want of ammunition left him no choice of route for his
return but by way of Kanawha. This lost to us the use of his
troops for several weeks from the defence of the North.

Had General Hunter moved by way of Charlottesville, instead of
Lexington, as his instructions contemplated, he would have been
in a position to have covered the Shenandoah Valley against the
enemy, should the force he met have seemed to endanger it. If
it did not, he would have been within easy distance of the James
River Canal, on the main line of communication between Lynchburg
and the force sent for its defence. I have never taken
exception to the operations of General Hunter, and am not now
disposed to find fault with him, for I have no doubt he acted
within what he conceived to be the spirit of his instructions
and the interests of the service. The promptitude of his
movements and his gallantry should entitle him to the
commendation of his country.

To return to the Army of the Potomac: The 2d corps commenced
crossing the James River on the morning of the 14th by
ferry-boats at Wilcox's Landing. The laying of the pontoon-
bridge was completed about midnight of the 14th, and the
crossing of the balance of the army was rapidly pushed forward
by both bridge and ferry.

After the crossing had commenced, I proceeded by steamer to
Bermuda Hundred to give the necessary orders for the immediate
capture of Petersburg.

The instructions to General Butler were verbal, and were for him
to send General Smith immediately, that night, with all the
troops he could give him without sacrificing the position he
then held. I told him that I would return at once to the Army
of the Potomac, hasten its crossing and throw it forward to
Petersburg by divisions as rapidly as it could be done, that we
could reinforce our armies more rapidly there than the enemy
could bring troops against us. General Smith got off as
directed, and confronted the enemy's pickets near Petersburg
before daylight next morning, but for some reason that I have
never been able to satisfactorily understand, did not get ready
to assault his main lines until near sundown. Then, with a part
of his command only, he made the assault, and carried the lines
north-east of Petersburg from the Appomattox River, for a
distance of over two and a half miles, capturing fifteen pieces
of artillery and three hundred prisoners. This was about seven
P.M. Between the line thus captured and Petersburg there were no
other works, and there was no evidence that the enemy had
reinforced Petersburg with a single brigade from any source. The
night was clear the moon shining brightly and favorable to
further operations. General Hancock, with two divisions of the
2d corps, reached General Smith just after dark, and offered the
service of these troops as he (Smith) might wish, waiving rank to
the named commander, who he naturally supposed knew best the
position of affairs, and what to do with the troops. But
instead of taking these troops and pushing at once into
Petersburg, he requested General Hancock to relieve a part of
his line in the captured works, which was done before midnight.

By the time I arrived the next morning the enemy was in force.
An attack was ordered to be made at six o'clock that evening by
the troops under Smith and the 2d and 9th corps. It required
until that time for the 9th corps to get up and into position.
The attack was made as ordered, and the fighting continued with
but little intermission until six o'clock the next morning, and
resulted in our carrying the advance and some of the main works
of the enemy to the right (our left) of those previously
captured by General Smith, several pieces of artillery, and over
four hundred prisoners.

The 5th corps having got up, the attacks were renewed and
persisted in with great vigor on the 17th and 18th, but only
resulted in forcing the enemy into an interior line, from which
he could not be dislodged. The advantages of position gained by
us were very great. The army then proceeded to envelop
Petersburg towards the South Side Railroad as far as possible
without attacking fortifications.

On the 16th the enemy, to reinforce Petersburg, withdrew from a
part of his intrenchment in front of Bermuda Hundred, expecting,
no doubt, to get troops from north of the James to take the place
of those withdrawn before we could discover it. General Butler,
taking advantage of this, at once moved a force on the railroad
between Petersburg and Richmond. As soon as I was apprised of
the advantage thus gained, to retain it I ordered two divisions
of the 6th corps, General Wright commanding, that were embarking
at Wilcox's Landing, under orders for City Point, to report to
General Butler at Bermuda Hundred, of which General Butler was
notified, and the importance of holding a position in advance of
his present line urged upon him.

About two o'clock in the afternoon General Butler was forced
back to the line the enemy had withdrawn from in the morning.
General Wright, with his two divisions, joined General Butler on
the forenoon of the 17th, the latter still holding with a strong
picket-line the enemy's works. But instead of putting these
divisions into the enemy's works to hold them, he permitted them
to halt and rest some distance in the rear of his own line.
Between four and five o'clock in the afternoon the enemy
attacked and drove in his pickets and re-occupied his old line.

On the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st a lodgment was
effected by General Butler, with one brigade of infantry, on the
north bank of the James, at Deep Bottom, and connected by
pontoon-bridge with Bermuda Hundred.

On the 19th, General Sheridan, on his return from his expedition
against the Virginia Central Railroad, arrived at the White House
just as the enemy's cavalry was about to attack it, and compelled
it to retire. The result of this expedition was, that General
Sheridan met the enemy's cavalry near Trevilian Station, on the
morning of the 11th of June, whom he attacked, and after an
obstinate contest drove from the field in complete rout. He
left his dead and nearly all his wounded in our hands, and about
four hundred prisoners and several hundred horses. On the 12th
he destroyed the railroad from Trevilian Station to Louisa Court
House. This occupied until three o'clock P.M., when he advanced
in the direction of Gordonsville. He found the enemy reinforced
by infantry, behind well-constructed rifle-pits, about five miles
from the latter place and too strong to successfully assault. On
the extreme right, however, his reserve brigade carried the
enemy's works twice, and was twice driven therefrom by
infantry. Night closed the contest. Not having sufficient
ammunition to continue the engagement, and his animals being
without forage (the country furnishing but inferior grazing),
and hearing nothing from General Hunter, he withdrew his command
to the north side of the North Anna, and commenced his return
march, reaching White House at the time before stated. After
breaking up the depot at that place, he moved to the James
River, which he reached safely after heavy fighting. He
commenced crossing on the 25th, near Fort Powhatan, without
further molestation, and rejoined the Army of the Potomac.

On the 22d, General Wilson, with his own division of cavalry of
the Army of the Potomac, and General Kautz's division of cavalry
of the Army of the James moved against the enemy's railroads
south of Richmond. Striking the Weldon Railroad at Reams's
Station, destroying the depot and several miles of the road, and
the South Side road about fifteen miles from Petersburg, to near
Nottoway Station, where he met and defeated a force of the
enemy's cavalry. He reached Burkesville Station on the
afternoon of the 23d, and from there destroyed the Danville
Railroad to Roanoke Bridge, a distance of twenty-five miles,
where he found the enemy in force, and in a position from which
he could not dislodge him. He then commenced his return march,
and on the 28th met the enemy's cavalry in force at the Weldon
Railroad crossing of Stony Creek, where he had a severe but not
decisive engagement. Thence he made a detour from his left with
a view of reaching Reams's Station (supposing it to be in our
possession). At this place he was met by the enemy's cavalry,
supported by infantry, and forced to retire, with the loss of
his artillery and trains. In this last encounter, General
Kautz, with a part of his command, became separated, and made
his way into our lines. General Wilson, with the remainder of
his force, succeeded in crossing the Nottoway River and coming
in safely on our left and rear. The damage to the enemy in this
expedition more than compensated for the losses we sustained. It
severed all connection by railroad with Richmond for several

With a view of cutting the enemy's railroad from near Richmond
to the Anna rivers, and making him wary of the situation of his
army in the Shenandoah, and, in the event of failure in this, to
take advantage of his necessary withdrawal of troops from
Petersburg, to explode a mine that had been prepared in front of
the 9th corps and assault the enemy's lines at that place, on the
night of the 26th of July the 2d corps and two divisions of the
cavalry corps and Kautz's cavalry were crossed to the north bank
of the James River and joined the force General Butler had
there. On the 27th the enemy was driven from his intrenched
position, with the loss of four pieces of artillery. On the
28th our lines were extended from Deep Bottom to New Market
Road, but in getting this position were attacked by the enemy in
heavy force. The fighting lasted for several hours, resulting in
considerable loss to both sides. The first object of this move
having failed, by reason of the very large force thrown there by
the enemy, I determined to take advantage of the diversion made,
by assaulting Petersburg before he could get his force back
there. One division of the 2d corps was withdrawn on the night
of the 28th, and moved during the night to the rear of the 18th
corps, to relieve that corps in the line, that it might be
foot-loose in the assault to be made. The other two divisions
of the 2d corps and Sheridan's cavalry were crossed over on the
night of the 29th and moved in front of Petersburg. On the
morning of the 30th, between four and five o'clock, the mine was
sprung, blowing up a battery and most of a regiment, and the
advance of the assaulting column, formed of the 9th corps,
immediately took possession of the crater made by the explosion,
and the line for some distance to the right and left of it, and a
detached line in front of it, but for some cause failed to
advance promptly to the ridge beyond. Had they done this, I
have every reason to believe that Petersburg would have
fallen. Other troops were immediately pushed forward, but the
time consumed in getting them up enabled the enemy to rally from
his surprise (which had been complete), and get forces to this
point for its defence. The captured line thus held being
untenable, and of no advantage to us, the troops were withdrawn,
but not without heavy loss. Thus terminated in disaster what
promised to be the most successful assault of the campaign.

Immediately upon the enemy's ascertaining that General Hunter
was retreating from Lynchburg by way of the Kanawha River, thus
laying the Shenandoah Valley open for raid into Maryland and
Pennsylvania, he returned northward and moved down that
valley. As soon as this movement of the enemy was ascertained,
General Hunter, who had reached the Kanawha River, was directed
to move his troops without delay, by river and railroad, to
Harper's Ferry; but owing to the difficulty of navigation by
reason of low water and breaks in the railroad, great delay was
experienced in getting there. It became necessary, therefore,
to find other troops to check this movement of the enemy. For
this purpose the 6th corps was taken from the armies operating
against Richmond, to which was added the 19th corps, then
fortunately beginning to arrive in Hampton Roads from the Gulf
Department, under orders issued immediately after the
ascertainment of the result of the Red River expedition. The
garrisons of Baltimore and Washington were at this time made up
of heavy-artillery regiments, hundred days' men, and detachments
from the invalid corps. One division under command of General
Ricketts, of the 6th corps, was sent to Baltimore, and the
remaining two divisions of the 6th corps, under General Wright,
were subsequently sent to Washington. On the 3d of July the
enemy approached Martinsburg. General Sigel, who was in command
of our forces there, retreated across the Potomac at
Shepherdtown; and General Weber, commanding at Harper's Ferry,
crossed the occupied Hagerstown, moving a strong column towards
Frederick City. General Wallace, with Rickett's division and
his own command, the latter mostly new and undisciplined troops,
pushed out from Baltimore with great promptness, and met the
enemy in force on the Monocacy, near the crossing of the
railroad bridge. His force was not sufficient to insure
success, but he fought the enemy nevertheless, and although it
resulted in a defeat to our arms, yet it detained the enemy, and
thereby served to enable General Wright to reach Washington with
two division of the 6th corps, and the advance of the 19th
corps, before him. From Monocacy the enemy moved on Washington,
his cavalry advance reaching Rockville on the evening of the
10th. On the 12th a reconnoissance was thrown out in front of
Fort Stevens, to ascertain the enemy's position and force. A
severe skirmish ensued, in which we lost about two hundred and
eighty in killed and wounded. The enemy's loss was probably
greater. He commenced retreating during the night. Learning
the exact condition of affairs at Washington, I requested by
telegraph, at forty-five minutes past eleven P.M., on the 12th,
the assignment of Major-General H. G. Wright to the command of
all the troops that could be made available to operate in the
field against the enemy, and directed that he should get outside
of the trenches with all the force he could, and push Early to
the last moment. General Wright commenced the pursuit on the
13th; on the 18th the enemy was overtaken at Snicker's Ferry, on
the Shenandoah, when a sharp skirmish occurred; and on the 20th,
General Averell encountered and defeated a portion of the rebel
army at Winchester, capturing four pieces of artillery and
several hundred prisoners.

Learning that Early was retreating south towards Lynchburg or
Richmond, I directed that the 6th and 19th corps be got back to
the armies operating against Richmond, so that they might be
used in a movement against Lee before the return of the troops
sent by him into the valley; and that Hunter should remain in
the Shenandoah Valley, keeping between any force of the enemy
and Washington, acting on the defensive as much as possible. I
felt that if the enemy had any notion of returning, the fact
would be developed before the 6th and 19th corps could leave
Washington. Subsequently, the 19th corps was excepted form the
order to return to the James.

About the 25th it became evident that the enemy was again
advancing upon Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the 6th corps,
then at Washington, was ordered back to the vicinity of Harper's
Ferry. The rebel force moved down the valley, and sent a raiding
party into Pennsylvania which on the 30th burned Chambersburg,
and then retreated, pursued by our cavalry, towards
Cumberland. They were met and defeated by General Kelley, and
with diminished numbers escaped into the mountains of West
Virginia. From the time of the first raid the telegraph wires
were frequently down between Washington and City Point, making
it necessary to transmit messages a part of the way by boat. It
took from twenty-four to thirty-six hours to get dispatches
through and return answers would be received showing a
different state of facts from those on which they were based,
causing confusion and apparent contradiction of orders that must
have considerably embarrassed those who had to execute them, and
rendered operations against the enemy less effective than they
otherwise would have been. To remedy this evil, it was evident
to my mind that some person should have the supreme command of
all the forces in the Department of West Virginia, Washington,
Susquehanna, and the Middle Department, and I so recommended.

On the 2d of August, I ordered General Sheridan to report in
person to Major-General Halleck, chief of staff, at Washington,
with a view to his assignment to the command of all the forces
against Early. At this time the enemy was concentrated in the
neighborhood of Winchester, while our forces, under General
Hunter, were concentrated on the Monocacy, at the crossing of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, leaving open to the enemy
Western Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania. From where I was, I
hesitated to give positive orders for the movement of our forces
at Monocacy, lest by so doing I should expose Washington.
Therefore, on the 4th, I left City Point to visit Hunter's
command, and determine for myself what was best to be done. On
arrival there, and after consultation with General Hunter, I
issued to him the following instructions:

August 5, 1864--8 P.M.

"GENERAL:--Concentrate all your available force without delay in
the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, leaving only such railroad guards
and garrisons for public property as may be necessary. Use, in
this concentrating, the railroad, if by so doing time can be
saved. From Harper's Ferry, if it is found that the enemy has
moved north of the Potomac in large force, push north, following
him and attacking him wherever found; follow him, if driven south
of the Potomac, as long as it is safe to do so. If it is
ascertained that the enemy has but a small force north of the
Potomac, then push south with the main force, detaching under a
competent commander, a sufficient force to look after the
raiders, and drive them to their homes. In detaching such a
force, the brigade of the cavalry now en route from Washington
via Rockville may be taken into account.

"There are now on their way to join you three other brigades of
the best cavalry, numbering at least five thousand men and
horses. These will be instructed, in the absence of further
orders, to join you by the south side of the Potomac. One
brigade will probably start to-morrow. In pushing up the
Shenandoah Valley, where it is expected you will have to go
first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left to
invite the enemy to return. Take all provisions, forage, and
stock wanted for the use of your command; such as cannot be
consumed, destroy. It is not desirable that the buildings
should be destroyed--they should rather be protected; but the
people should be informed that, so long as an army can subsist
among them, recurrence of theses raids must be expected, and we
are determined to stop them at all hazards.

"Bear in mind, the object is to drive the enemy south; and to do
this you want to keep him always in sight. Be guided in your
course by the course he takes.

"Make your own arrangements for supplies of all kinds, giving
regular vouchers for such as may be taken from loyal citizens in
the country through which you march.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

The troops were immediately put in motion, and the advance
reached Halltown that night.

General Hunter having, in our conversation, expressed a
willingness to be relieved from command, I telegraphed to have
General Sheridan, then at Washington, sent to Harper's Ferry by
the morning train, with orders to take general command of all
the troops in the field, and to call on General Hunter at
Monocacy, who would turn over to him my letter of
instructions. I remained at Monocacy until General Sheridan
arrived, on the morning of the 6th, and, after a conference with
him in relation to military affairs in that vicinity, I returned
to City Point by way of Washington.

On the 7th of August, the Middle Department, and the Departments
of West Virginia, Washington, and Susquehanna, were constituted
into the "Middle Military Division," and Major-General Sheridan
was assigned to temporary command of the same.

Two divisions of cavalry, commanded by Generals Torbert and
Wilson, were sent to Sheridan from the Army of the Potomac. The
first reached him at Harper's Ferry about the 11th of August.

His operations during the month of August and the fore part of
September were both of an offensive and defensive character,
resulting in many severe skirmishes, principally by the cavalry,
in which we were generally successful, but no general engagement
took place. The two armies lay in such a position--the enemy on
the west bank of the Opequon Creek covering Winchester, and our
forces in front of Berryville--that either could bring on a
battle at any time. Defeat to us would lay open to the enemy
the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania for long distances
before another army could be interposed to check him. Under
these circumstances I hesitated about allowing the initiative to
be taken. Finally, the use of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,
and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which were both obstructed by
the enemy, became so indispensably necessary to us, and the
importance of relieving Pennsylvania and Maryland from
continuously threatened invasion so great, that I determined the
risk should be taken. But fearing to telegraph the order for an
attack without knowing more than I did of General Sheridan's
feelings as to what would be the probable result, I left City
Point on the 15th of September to visit him at his headquarters,
to decide, after conference with him, what should be done. I met
him at Charlestown, and he pointed out so distinctly how each
army lay; what he could do the moment he was authorized, and
expressed such confidence of success, that I saw there were but
two words of instructions necessary--Go in! For the
conveniences of forage, the teams for supplying the army were
kept at Harper's Ferry. I asked him if he could get out his
teams and supplies in time to make an attack on the ensuing
Tuesday morning. His reply was, that he could before daylight
on Monday. He was off promptly to time, and I may here add,
that the result was such that I have never since deemed it
necessary to visit General Sheridan before giving him orders.

Early on the morning of the 19th, General Sheridan attacked
General Early at the crossing on the Opequon Creek, and after a
most sanguinary and bloody battle, lasting until five o'clock in
the evening, defeated him with heavy loss, carrying his entire
position from Opequon Creek to Winchester, capturing several
thousand prisoners and five pieces of artillery. The enemy
rallied, and made a stand in a strong position at Fisher's Hill,
where he was attacked, and again defeated with heavy loss on the
20th [22d]. Sheridan pursued him with great energy through
Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the gaps of the Blue Ridge. After
stripping the upper valley of most of the supplies and
provisions for the rebel army, he returned to Strasburg, and
took position on the north side of Cedar Creek.

Having received considerable reinforcements, General Early again
returned to the valley, and, on the 9th of October, his cavalry
encountered ours near Strasburg, where the rebels were defeated,
with the loss of eleven pieces of artillery and three hundred and
fifty prisoners. On the night of the 18th, the enemy crossed the
mountains which separate the branches of the Shenandoah, forded
the North Fork, and early on the morning of the 19th, under
cover of the darkness and the fog, surprised and turned our left
flank, and captured the batteries which enfiladed our whole
line. Our troops fell back with heavy loss and in much
confusion, but were finally rallied between Middletown and
Newtown. At this juncture, General Sheridan, who was at
Winchester when the battle commenced arrived on the field,
arranged his lines just in time to repulse a heavy attack of the
enemy, and immediately assuming the offensive, he attacked in
turn with great vigor. The enemy was defeated with great
slaughter, and the loss of most of his artillery and trains, and
the trophies he had captured in the morning. The wreck of his
army escaped during the night, and fled in the direction of
Staunton and Lynchburg. Pursuit was made to Mount Jackson. Thus
ended this, the enemy's last attempt to invade the North via the
Shenandoah Valley. I was now enabled to return the 6th corps to
the Army of the Potomac, and to send one division from Sheridan's
army to the Army of the James, and another to Savannah, Georgia,
to hold Sherman's new acquisitions on the sea-coast, and thus
enable him to move without detaching from his force for that

Reports from various sources led me to believe that the enemy
had detached three divisions from Petersburg to reinforce Early
in the Shenandoah Valley. I therefore sent the 2d corps and
Gregg's division of cavalry, of the Army of the Potomac, and a
force of General Butler's army, on the night of the 13th of
August, to threaten Richmond from the north side of the James,
to prevent him from sending troops away, and, if possible, to
draw back those sent. In this move we captured six pieces of
artillery and several hundred prisoners, detained troops that
were under marching orders, and ascertained that but one
division (Kershaw's), of the three reputed detached, had gone.

The enemy having withdrawn heavily from Petersburg to resist
this movement, the 5th corps, General Warren commanding, was
moved out on the 18th, and took possession of the Weldon
Railroad. During the day he had considerable fighting. To
regain possession of the road, the enemy made repeated and
desperate assaults, but was each time repulsed with great
loss. On the night of the 20th, the troops on the north side of
the James were withdrawn, and Hancock and Gregg returned to the
front at Petersburg. On the 25th, the 2d corps and Gregg's
division of cavalry, while at Reams's Station destroying the
railroad, were attacked, and after desperate fighting, a part of
our line gave way, and five pieces of artillery fell into the
hands of the enemy.

By the 12th of September, a branch railroad was completed from
the City Point and Petersburg Railroad to the Weldon Railroad,
enabling us to supply, without difficulty, in all weather, the
army in front of Petersburg.

The extension of our lines across the Weldon Railroad compelled
the enemy to so extend his, that it seemed he could have but few
troops north of the James for the defence of Richmond. On the
night of the 28th, the 10th corps, Major-General Birney, and the
18th corps, Major-General Ord commanding, of General Butler's
army, were crossed to the north side of the James, and advanced
on the morning of the 29th, carrying the very strong
fortifications and intrenchments below Chaffin's Farm, known as
Fort Harrison, capturing fifteen pieces of artillery, and the
New Market Road and intrenchments. This success was followed up
by a gallant assault upon Fort Gilmer, immediately in front of
the Chaffin Farm fortifications, in which we were repulsed with
heavy loss. Kautz's cavalry was pushed forward on the road to
the right of this, supported by infantry, and reached the
enemy's inner line, but was unable to get further. The position
captured from the enemy was so threatening to Richmond, that I
determined to hold it. The enemy made several desperate
attempts to dislodge us, all of which were unsuccessful, and for
which he paid dearly. On the morning of the 30th, General Meade
sent out a reconnoissance with a view to attacking the enemy's
line, if it was found sufficiently weakened by withdrawal of
troops to the north side. In this reconnoissance we captured
and held the enemy's works near Poplar Spring Church. In the
afternoon, troops moving to get to the left of the point gained
were attacked by the enemy in heavy force, and compelled to fall
back until supported by the forces holding the captured works.
Our cavalry under Gregg was also attacked, but repulsed the
enemy with great loss.

On the 7th of October, the enemy attacked Kautz's cavalry north
of the James, and drove it back with heavy loss in killed,
wounded, and prisoners, and the loss of all the artillery eight
or nine pieces. This he followed up by an attack on our
intrenched infantry line, but was repulsed with severe
slaughter. On the 13th, a reconnoissance was sent out by
General Butler, with a view to drive the enemy from some new
works he was constructing, which resulted in very heavy loss to

On the 27th, the Army of the Potomac, leaving only sufficient
men to hold its fortified line, moved by the enemy's right
flank. The 2d corps, followed by two divisions of the 5th
corps, with the cavalry in advance and covering our left flank,
forced a passage of Hatcher's Run, and moved up the south side
of it towards the South Side Railroad, until the 2d corps and
part of the cavalry reached the Boydton Plank Road where it
crosses Hatcher's Run. At this point we were six miles distant
from the South Side Railroad, which I had hoped by this movement
to reach and hold. But finding that we had not reached the end
of the enemy's fortifications, and no place presenting itself
for a successful assault by which he might be doubled up and
shortened, I determined to withdraw to within our fortified
line. Orders were given accordingly. Immediately upon
receiving a report that General Warren had connected with
General Hancock, I returned to my headquarters. Soon after I
left the enemy moved out across Hatcher's Run, in the gap
between Generals Hancock and Warren, which was not closed as
reported, and made a desperate attack on General Hancock's right
and rear. General Hancock immediately faced his corps to meet
it, and after a bloody combat drove the enemy within his works,
and withdrew that night to his old position.

In support of this movement, General Butler made a demonstration
on the north side of the James, and attacked the enemy on the
Williamsburg Road, and also on the York River Railroad. In the
former he was unsuccessful; in the latter he succeeded in
carrying a work which was afterwards abandoned, and his forces
withdrawn to their former positions.

From this time forward the operations in front of Petersburg and
Richmond, until the spring campaign of 1865, were confined to the
defence and extension of our lines, and to offensive movements
for crippling the enemy's lines of communication, and to prevent
his detaching any considerable force to send south. By the 7th
of February, our lines were extended to Hatcher's Run, and the
Weldon Railroad had been destroyed to Hicksford.

General Sherman moved from Chattanooga on the 6th of May, with
the Armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio, commanded,
respectively, by Generals Thomas McPherson, and Schofield, upon
Johnston's army at Dalton; but finding the enemy's position at
Buzzard's Roost, covering Dalton, too strong to be assaulted,
General McPherson was sent through Snake Gap to turn it, while
Generals Thomas and Schofield threatened it in front and on the
north. This movement was successful. Johnston, finding his
retreat likely to be cut off, fell back to his fortified
position at Resaca, where he was attacked on the afternoon of
May 15th. A heavy battle ensued. During the night the enemy
retreated south. Late on the 17th, his rear-guard was overtaken
near Adairsville, and heavy skirmishing followed. The next
morning, however, he had again disappeared. He was vigorously
pursued, and was overtaken at Cassville on the 19th, but during
the ensuing night retreated across the Etowah. While these
operations were going on, General Jefferson C. Davis's division
of Thomas's army was sent to Rome, capturing it with its forts
and artillery, and its valuable mills and foundries. General
Sherman, having give his army a few days' rest at this point,
again put it in motion on the 23d, for Dallas, with a view of
turning the difficult pass at Allatoona. On the afternoon of
the 25th, the advance, under General Hooker, had a severe battle
with the enemy, driving him back to New Hope Church, near
Dallas. Several sharp encounters occurred at this point. The
most important was on the 28th, when the enemy assaulted General
McPherson at Dallas, but received a terrible and bloody repulse.

On the 4th of June, Johnston abandoned his intrenched position
at New Hope Church, and retreated to the strong positions of
Kenesaw, Pine, and Lost mountains. He was forced to yield the
two last-named places, and concentrate his army on Kenesaw,
where, on the 27th, Generals Thomas and McPherson made a
determined but unsuccessful assault. On the night of the 2d of
July, Sherman commenced moving his army by the right flank, and
on the morning of the 3d, found that the enemy, in consequence
of this movement, had abandoned Kenesaw and retreated across the

General Sherman remained on the Chattahoochee to give his men
rest and get up stores until the 17th of July, when he resumed
his operations, crossed the Chattahoochee, destroyed a large
portion of the railroad to Augusta, and drove the enemy back to
Atlanta. At this place General Hood succeeded General Johnston
in command of the rebel army, and assuming the
offensive-defensive policy, made several severe attacks upon
Sherman in the vicinity of Atlanta, the most desperate and
determined of which was on the 22d of July. About one P.M. of
this day the brave, accomplished, and noble-hearted McPherson
was killed. General Logan succeeded him, and commanded the Army
of the Tennessee through this desperate battle, and until he was
superseded by Major-General Howard, on the 26th, with the same
success and ability that had characterized him in the command of
a corps or division.

In all these attacks the enemy was repulsed with great loss.
Finding it impossible to entirely invest the place, General
Sherman, after securing his line of communications across the
Chattahoochee, moved his main force round by the enemy's left
flank upon the Montgomery and Macon roads, to draw the enemy
from his fortifications. In this he succeeded, and after
defeating the enemy near Rough-and-Ready, Jonesboro, and
Lovejoy's, forcing him to retreat to the south, on the 2d of
September occupied Atlanta, the objective point of his campaign.

About the time of this move, the rebel cavalry, under Wheeler,
attempted to cut his communications in the rear, but was
repulsed at Dalton, and driven into East Tennessee, whence it
proceeded west to McMinnville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin, and
was finally driven south of the Tennessee. The damage done by
this raid was repaired in a few days.

During the partial investment of Atlanta, General Rousseau
joined General Sherman with a force of cavalry from Decatur,
having made a successful raid upon the Atlanta and Montgomery
Railroad, and its branches near Opelika. Cavalry raids were also
made by Generals McCook, Garrard, and Stoneman, to cut the
remaining Railroad communication with Atlanta. The first two
were successful the latter, disastrous.

General Sherman's movement from Chattanooga to Atlanta was
prompt, skilful, and brilliant. The history of his flank
movements and battles during that memorable campaign will ever
be read with an interest unsurpassed by anything in history.

His own report, and those of his subordinate commanders,
accompanying it, give the details of that most successful

He was dependent for the supply of his armies upon a
single-track railroad from Nashville to the point where he was
operating. This passed the entire distance through a hostile
country, and every foot of it had to be protected by troops. The
cavalry force of the enemy under Forrest, in Northern
Mississippi, was evidently waiting for Sherman to advance far
enough into the mountains of Georgia, to make a retreat
disastrous, to get upon this line and destroy it beyond the
possibility of further use. To guard against this danger,
Sherman left what he supposed to be a sufficient force to
operate against Forrest in West Tennessee. He directed General
Washburn, who commanded there, to send Brigadier-General S. D.
Sturgis in command of this force to attack him. On the morning
of the 10th of June, General Sturgis met the enemy near Guntown,
Mississippi, was badly beaten, and driven back in utter rout and
confusion to Memphis, a distance of about one hundred miles,
hotly pursued by the enemy. By this, however, the enemy was
defeated in his designs upon Sherman's line of communications.
The persistency with which he followed up this success exhausted
him, and made a season for rest and repairs necessary. In the
meantime, Major-General A. J. Smith, with the troops of the Army
of the Tennessee that had been sent by General Sherman to General
Banks, arrived at Memphis on their return from Red River, where
they had done most excellent service. He was directed by
General Sherman to immediately take the offensive against
Forrest. This he did with the promptness and effect which has
characterized his whole military career. On the 14th of July,
he met the enemy at Tupelo, Mississippi, and whipped him
badly. The fighting continued through three days. Our loss was
small compared with that of the enemy. Having accomplished the
object of his expedition, General Smith returned to Memphis.

During the months of March and April this same force under
Forrest annoyed us considerably. On the 24th of March it
captured Union City, Kentucky, and its garrison, and on the 24th
attacked Paducah, commanded by Colonel S. G. Hicks, 40th Illinois
Volunteers. Colonel H., having but a small force, withdrew to
the forts near the river, from where he repulsed the enemy and
drove him from the place.

On the 13th of April, part of this force, under the rebel
General Buford, summoned the garrison of Columbus, Kentucky, to
surrender, but received for reply from Colonel Lawrence, 34th
New Jersey Volunteers, that being placed there by his Government
with adequate force to hold his post and repel all enemies from
it, surrender was out of the question.

On the morning of the same day Forrest attacked Fort Pillow,
Tennessee, garrisoned by a detachment of Tennessee cavalry and
the 1st Regiment Alabama colored troops, commanded by Major
Booth. The garrison fought bravely until about three o'clock in
the afternoon, when the enemy carried the works by assault; and,
after our men threw down their arms, proceeded to an inhuman and
merciless massacre of the garrison.

On the 14th, General Buford, having failed at Columbus, appeared
before Paducah, but was again driven off.

Guerillas and raiders, seemingly emboldened by Forrest's
operations, were also very active in Kentucky. The most noted
of these was Morgan. With a force of from two to three thousand
cavalry, he entered the State through Pound Gap in the latter
part of May. On the 11th of June they attacked and captured
Cynthiana, with its entire garrison. On the 12th he was
overtaken by General Burbridge, and completely routed with heavy
loss, and was finally driven out of the State. This notorious
guerilla was afterwards surprised and killed near Greenville,
Tennessee, and his command captured and dispersed by General

In the absence of official reports of the commencement of the
Red River expedition, except so far as relates to the movements
of the troops sent by General Sherman under General A. J. Smith,
I am unable to give the date of its starting. The troops under
General Smith, comprising two divisions of the 16th and a
detachment of the 17th army corps, left Vicksburg on the 10th of
March, and reached the designated point on Red River one day
earlier than that appointed by General Banks. The rebel forces
at Fort de Russy, thinking to defeat him, left the fort on the
14th to give him battle in the open field; but, while occupying
the enemy with skirmishing and demonstrations, Smith pushed
forward to Fort de Russy, which had been left with a weak
garrison, and captured it with its garrison about three hundred
and fifty men, eleven pieces of artillery, and many
small-arms. Our loss was but slight. On the 15th he pushed
forward to Alexandria, which place he reached on the 18th. On
the 21st he had an engagement with the enemy at Henderson's
Hill, in which he defeated him, capturing two hundred and ten
prisoners and four pieces of artillery.

On the 28th, he again attacked and defeated the enemy under the
rebel General Taylor, at Cane River. By the 26th, General Banks
had assembled his whole army at Alexandria, and pushed forward to
Grand Ecore. On the morning of April 6th he moved from Grand
Ecore. On the afternoon of the 7th, he advanced and met the
enemy near Pleasant Hill, and drove him from the field. On the
same afternoon the enemy made a stand eight miles beyond
Pleasant Hill, but was again compelled to retreat. On the 8th,
at Sabine Cross Roads and Peach Hill, the enemy attacked and
defeated his advance, capturing nineteen pieces of artillery and
an immense amount of transportation and stores. During the
night, General Banks fell back to Pleasant Hill, where another
battle was fought on the 9th, and the enemy repulsed with great
loss. During the night, General Banks continued his retrograde
movement to Grand Ecore, and thence to Alexandria, which he
reached on the 27th of April. Here a serious difficulty arose
in getting Admiral Porter's fleet which accompanied the
expedition, over the rapids, the water having fallen so much
since they passed up as to prevent their return. At the
suggestion of Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Bailey, and under
his superintendence, wing-dams were constructed, by which the
channel was contracted so that the fleet passed down the rapids
in safety.

The army evacuated Alexandria on the 14th of May, after
considerable skirmishing with the enemy's advance, and reached
Morganzia and Point Coupee near the end of the month. The
disastrous termination of this expedition, and the lateness of
the season, rendered impracticable the carrying out of my plans
of a movement in force sufficient to insure the capture of

On the 23d of March, Major-General Steele left Little Rock with
the 7th army corps, to cooperate with General Banks's
expedition on the Red River, and reached Arkadelphia on the
28th. On the 16th of April, after driving the enemy before him,
he was joined, near Elkin's Ferry, in Washita County, by General
Thayer, who had marched from Fort Smith. After several severe
skirmishes, in which the enemy was defeated, General Steele
reached Camden, which he occupied about the middle of April.

On learning the defeat and consequent retreat of General Banks
on Red River, and the loss of one of his own trains at Mark's
Mill, in Dallas County, General Steele determined to fall back
to the Arkansas River. He left Camden on the 26th of April, and
reached Little Rock on the 2d of May. On the 30th of April, the
enemy attacked him while crossing Saline River at Jenkins's
Ferry, but was repulsed with considerable loss. Our loss was
about six hundred in killed, wounded and prisoners.

Major-General Canby, who had been assigned to the command of the
"Military Division of the West Mississippi," was therefore
directed to send the 19th army corps to join the armies
operating against Richmond, and to limit the remainder of his
command to such operations as might be necessary to hold the
positions and lines of communications he then occupied.

Before starting General A. J. Smith's troops back to Sherman,
General Canby sent a part of it to disperse a force of the enemy
that was collecting near the Mississippi River. General Smith
met and defeated this force near Lake Chicot on the 5th of
June. Our loss was about forty killed and seventy wounded.

In the latter part of July, General Canby sent Major-General
Gordon Granger, with such forces as he could collect, to
co-operate with Admiral Farragut against the defences of Mobile
Bay. On the 8th of August, Fort Gaines surrendered to the
combined naval and land forces. Fort Powell was blown up and

On the 9th, Fort Morgan was invested, and, after a severe
bombardment, surrendered on the 23d. The total captures
amounted to one thousand four hundred and sixty-four prisoners,
and one hundred and four pieces of artillery.

About the last of August, it being reported that the rebel
General Price, with a force of about ten thousand men, had
reached Jacksonport, on his way to invade Missouri, General A.
J. Smith's command, then en route from Memphis to join Sherman,
was ordered to Missouri. A cavalry force was also, at the same
time, sent from Memphis, under command of Colonel Winslow. This
made General Rosecrans's forces superior to those of Price, and
no doubt was entertained he would be able to check Price and
drive him back; while the forces under General Steele, in
Arkansas, would cut off his retreat. On the 26th day of
September, Price attacked Pilot Knob and forced the garrison to
retreat, and thence moved north to the Missouri River, and
continued up that river towards Kansas. General Curtis,
commanding Department of Kansas, immediately collected such
forces as he could to repel the invasion of Kansas, while
General Rosecrans's cavalry was operating in his rear.

The enemy was brought to battle on the Big Blue and defeated,
with the loss of nearly all his artillery and trains and a large
number of prisoners. He made a precipitate retreat to Northern
Arkansas. The impunity with which Price was enabled to roam
over the State of Missouri for a long time, and the incalculable
mischief done by him, show to how little purpose a superior force
may be used. There is no reason why General Rosecrans should not
have concentrated his forces, and beaten and driven Price before
the latter reached Pilot Knob.

September 20th, the enemy's cavalry, under Forrest, crossed the
Tennessee near Waterloo, Alabama, and on the 23d attacked the
garrison at Athens, consisting of six hundred men, which
capitulated on the 24th. Soon after the surrender two regiments
of reinforcements arrived, and after a severe fight were
compelled to surrender. Forrest destroyed the railroad
westward, captured the garrison at Sulphur Branch trestle,
skirmished with the garrison at Pulaski on the 27th, and on the
same day cut the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad near
Tullahoma and Dechard. On the morning of the 30th, one column
of Forrest's command, under Buford, appeared before Huntsville,
and summoned the surrender of the garrison. Receiving an answer
in the negative, he remained in the vicinity of the place until
next morning, when he again summoned its surrender, and received
the same reply as on the night before. He withdrew in the
direction of Athens which place had been regarrisoned, and
attacked it on the afternoon of the 1st of October, but without
success. On the morning of the 2d he renewed his attack, but
was handsomely repulsed.

Another column under Forrest appeared before Columbia on the
morning of the 1st, but did not make an attack. On the morning
of the 3d he moved towards Mount Pleasant. While these
operations were going on, every exertion was made by General
Thomas to destroy the forces under Forrest before he could
recross the Tennessee, but was unable to prevent his escape to
Corinth, Mississippi.

In September, an expedition under General Burbridge was sent to
destroy the saltworks at Saltville, Virginia. He met the enemy
on the 2d of October, about three miles and a half from
Saltville, and drove him into his strongly intrenched position
around the salt-works, from which he was unable to dislodge
him. During the night he withdrew his command and returned to

General Sherman, immediately after the fall of Atlanta, put his
armies in camp in and about the place, and made all preparations
for refitting and supplying them for future service. The great
length of road from Atlanta to the Cumberland River, however,
which had to be guarded, allowed the troops but little rest.

During this time Jefferson Davis made a speech in Macon,
Georgia, which was reported in the papers of the South, and soon
became known to the whole country, disclosing the plans of the
enemy, thus enabling General Sherman to fully meet them. He
exhibited the weakness of supposing that an army that had been
beaten and fearfully decimated in a vain attempt at the
defensive, could successfully undertake the offensive against
the army that had so often defeated it.

In execution of this plan, Hood, with this army, was soon
reported to the south-west of Atlanta. Moving far to Sherman's
right, he succeeded in reaching the railroad about Big Shanty,
and moved north on it.

General Sherman, leaving a force to hold Atlanta, with the
remainder of his army fell upon him and drove him to Gadsden,
Alabama. Seeing the constant annoyance he would have with the
roads to his rear if he attempted to hold Atlanta, General
Sherman proposed the abandonment and destruction of that place,
with all the railroads leading to it, and telegraphed me as

"October 10--noon.

"Dispatch about Wilson just received. Hood is now crossing
Coosa River, twelve miles below Rome, bound west. If he passes
over the Mobile and Ohio road, had I not better execute the plan
of my letter sent by Colonel Porter, and leave General Thomas
with the troops now in Tennessee to defend the State? He will
have an ample force when the reinforcements ordered reach

"W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

For a full understanding of the plan referred to in this
dispatch, I quote from the letter sent by Colonel Porter:

"I will therefore give my opinion, that your army and Canby's
should be reinforced to the maximum; that after you get
Wilmington, you strike for Savannah and the river; that Canby be
instructed to hold the Mississippi River, and send a force to get
Columbus, Georgia, either by the way of the Alabama or the
Appalachicola, and that I keep Hood employed and put my army in
final order for a march on Augusta, Columbia, and Charleston, to
be ready as soon as Wilmington is sealed as to commerce and the
city of Savannah is in our possession." This was in reply to a
letter of mine of date September 12th, in answer to a dispatch
of his containing substantially the same proposition, and in
which I informed him of a proposed movement against Wilmington,
and of the situation in Virginia, etc.


"October 11, 1864--11 A.M.

"Your dispatch of October 10th received. Does it not look as if
Hood was going to attempt the invasion of Middle Tennessee, using
the Mobile and Ohio and Memphis and Charleston roads to supply
his base on the Tennessee River, about Florence or Decatur? If
he does this, he ought to be met and prevented from getting
north of the Tennessee River. If you were to cut loose, I do
not believe you would meet Hood's army, but would be bushwhacked
by all the old men and little boys, and such railroad guards as
are still left at home. Hood would probably strike for
Nashville, thinking that by going north he could inflict greater
damage upon us than we could upon the rebels by going south. If
there is any way of getting at Hood's army, I would prefer that,
but I must trust to your own judgment. I find I shall not be
able to send a force from here to act with you on Savannah. Your
movements, therefore, will be independent of mine; at least until
the fall of Richmond takes place. I am afraid Thomas, with such
lines of road as he has to protect, could not prevent Hood from
going north. With Wilson turned loose, with all your cavalry,
you will find the rebels put much more on the defensive than

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

"October 11--11 A.M.

"Hood moved his army from Palmetto Station across by Dallas and
Cedartown, and is now on the Coosa River, south of Rome. He
threw one corps on my road at Acworth, and I was forced to
follow. I hold Atlanta with the 20th corps, and have strong
detachments along my line. This reduces my active force to a
comparatively small army. We cannot remain here on the
defensive. With the twenty-five thousand men, and the bold
cavalry he has, he can constantly break my roads. I would
infinitely prefer to make a wreck of the road, and of the
country from Chattanooga to Atlanta including the latter city
send back all my wounded and worthless, and with my effective
army, move through Georgia, smashing things, to the sea. Hood
may turn into Tennessee and Kentucky, but I believe he will be
forced to follow me. Instead of my being on the defensive, I
would be on the offensive; instead of guessing at what he means
to do, he would have to guess at my plans. The difference in
war is full twenty-five per cent. I can make Savannah,
Charleston, or the mouth of the Chattahoochee.

"Answer quick, as I know we will not have the telegraph long.

"W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

"October 11,1864--11.30 P.M.

"Your dispatch of to-day received. If you are satisfied the
trip to the sea-coast can be made, holding the line of the
Tennessee River firmly, you may make it, destroying all the
railroad south of Dalton or Chattanooga, as you think best.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

It was the original design to hold Atlanta, and by getting
through to the coast, with a garrison left on the southern
railroads, leading east and west, through Georgia, to
effectually sever the east from the west. In other words, cut
the would-be Confederacy in two again, as it had been cut once
by our gaining possession of the Mississippi River. General
Sherman's plan virtually effected this object.

General Sherman commenced at once his preparations for his
proposed movement, keeping his army in position in the meantime
to watch Hood. Becoming satisfied that Hood had moved westward
from Gadsden across Sand Mountain, General Sherman sent the 4th
corps, Major-General Stanley commanding, and the 23d corps,
Major-General Schofield commanding, back to Chattanooga to
report to Major-General Thomas, at Nashville, whom he had placed
in command of all the troops of his military division, save the
four army corps and cavalry division he designed to move with
through Georgia. With the troops thus left at his disposal,
there was little doubt that General Thomas could hold the line
of the Tennessee, or, in the event Hood should force it, would
be able to concentrate and beat him in battle. It was therefore
readily consented to that Sherman should start for the sea-coast.

Having concentrated his troops at Atlanta by the 14th of
November, he commenced his march, threatening both Augusta and
Macon. His coming-out point could not be definitely fixed.
Having to gather his subsistence as he marched through the
country, it was not impossible that a force inferior to his own
might compel him to head for such point as he could reach,
instead of such as he might prefer. The blindness of the enemy,
however, in ignoring his movement, and sending Hood's army, the
only considerable force he had west of Richmond and east of the
Mississippi River, northward on an offensive campaign, left the
whole country open, and Sherman's route to his own choice.

How that campaign was conducted, how little opposition was met
with, the condition of the country through which the armies
passed, the capture of Fort McAllister, on the Savannah River,
and the occupation of Savannah on the 21st of December, are all
clearly set forth in General Sherman's admirable report.

Soon after General Sherman commenced his march from Atlanta, two
expeditions, one from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and one from
Vicksburg, Mississippi, were started by General Canby to cut the
enemy's lines of communication with Mobile and detain troops in
that field. General Foster, commanding Department of the South,
also sent an expedition, via Broad River, to destroy the railroad
between Charleston and Savannah. The expedition from Vicksburg,
under command of Brevet Brigadier-General E. D. Osband (colonel
3d United States colored cavalry), captured, on the 27th of
November, and destroyed the Mississippi Central Railroad bridge
and trestle-work over Big Black River, near Canton, thirty miles
of the road, and two locomotives, besides large amounts of
stores. The expedition from Baton Rouge was without favorable
results. The expedition from the Department of the South, under
the immediate command of Brigadier-General John P. Hatch,
consisting of about five thousand men of all arms, including a
brigade from the navy, proceeded up Broad River and debarked at
Boyd's Neck on the 29th of November, from where it moved to
strike the railroad at Grahamsville. At Honey Hill, about three
miles from Grahamsville, the enemy was found and attacked in a
strongly fortified position, which resulted, after severe
fighting, in our repulse with a loss of seven hundred and
forty-six in killed, wounded, and missing. During the night
General Hatch withdrew. On the 6th of December General Foster
obtained a position covering the Charleston and Savannah
Railroad, between the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny rivers.

Hood, instead of following Sherman, continued his move
northward, which seemed to me to be leading to his certain
doom. At all events, had I had the power to command both
armies, I should not have changed the orders under which he
seemed to be acting. On the 26th of October, the advance of
Hood's army attacked the garrison at Decatur, Alabama, but
failing to carry the place, withdrew towards Courtland, and
succeeded, in the face of our cavalry, in effecting a lodgment
on the north side of the Tennessee River, near Florence. On the
28th, Forrest reached the Tennessee, at Fort Heiman, and captured
a gunboat and three transports. On the 2d of November he planted
batteries above and below Johnsonville, on the opposite side of
the river, isolating three gunboats and eight transports. On
the 4th the enemy opened his batteries upon the place, and was
replied to from the gunboats and the garrison. The gunboats
becoming disabled were set on fire, as also were the transports,
to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. About a
million and a half dollars' worth of store and property on the
levee and in storehouses was consumed by fire. On the 5th the
enemy disappeared and crossed to the north side of the Tennessee
River, above Johnsonville, moving towards Clifton, and
subsequently joined Hood. On the night of the 5th, General
Schofield, with the advance of the 23d corps, reached
Johnsonville, but finding the enemy gone, was ordered to
Pulaski, and was put in command of all the troopers there, with
instruction to watch the movements of Hood and retard his
advance, but not to risk a general engagement until the arrival
of General A. J. Smith's command from Missouri, and until
General Wilson could get his cavalry remounted.

On the 19th, General Hood continued his advance. General
Thomas, retarding him as much as possible, fell back towards
Nashville for the purpose of concentrating his command and
gaining time for the arrival of reinforcements. The enemy
coming up with our main force, commanded by General Schofield,
at Franklin, on the 30th, assaulted our works repeatedly during
the afternoon until late at night, but were in every instance
repulsed. His loss in this battle was one thousand seven
hundred and fifty killed, seven hundred and two prisoners, and
three thousand eight hundred wounded. Among his losses were six
general officers killed, six wounded, and one captured. Our
entire loss was two thousand three hundred. This was the first
serious opposition the enemy met with, and I am satisfied was
the fatal blow to all his expectations. During the night,
General Schofield fell back towards Nashville. This left the
field to the enemy--not lost by battle, but voluntarily
abandoned--so that General Thomas's whole force might be brought
together. The enemy followed up and commenced the establishment
of his line in front of Nashville on the 2d of December.

As soon as it was ascertained that Hood was crossing the
Tennessee River, and that Price was going out of Missouri,
General Rosecrans was ordered to send to General Thomas the
troops of General A. J. Smith's command, and such other troops
as he could spare. The advance of this reinforcement reached
Nashville on the 30th of November.

On the morning of the 15th December, General Thomas attacked
Hood in position, and, in a battle lasting two days, defeated
and drove him from the field in the utmost confusion, leaving in
our hand most of his artillery and many thousand prisoners,
including four general officers.

Before the battle of Nashville I grew very impatient over, as it
appeared to me, the unnecessary delay. This impatience was
increased upon learning that the enemy had sent a force of
cavalry across the Cumberland into Kentucky. I feared Hood
would cross his whole army and give us great trouble there.
After urging upon General Thomas the necessity of immediately
assuming the offensive, I started West to superintend matters
there in person. Reaching Washington City, I received General
Thomas's dispatch announcing his attack upon the enemy, and the
result as far as the battle had progressed. I was delighted.
All fears and apprehensions were dispelled. I am not yet
satisfied but that General Thomas, immediately upon the
appearance of Hood before Nashville, and before he had time to
fortify, should have moved out with his whole force and given
him battle, instead of waiting to remount his cavalry, which
delayed him until the inclemency of the weather made it
impracticable to attack earlier than he did. But his final
defeat of Hood was so complete, that it will be accepted as a
vindication of that distinguished officer's judgment.

After Hood's defeat at Nashville he retreated, closely pursued
by cavalry and infantry, to the Tennessee River, being forced to
abandon many pieces of artillery and most of his
transportation. On the 28th of December our advanced forces
ascertained that he had made good his escape to the south side
of the river.

About this time, the rains having set in heavily in Tennessee
and North Alabama, making it difficult to move army
transportation and artillery, General Thomas stopped the pursuit
by his main force at the Tennessee River. A small force of
cavalry, under Colonel W. J. Palmer, 15th Pennsylvania
Volunteers, continued to follow Hood for some distance,
capturing considerable transportation and all the enemy's
pontoon-bridge. The details of these operations will be found
clearly set forth in General Thomas's report.

A cavalry expedition, under Brevet Major-General Grierson,
started from Memphis on the 21st of December. On the 25th he
surprised and captured Forrest's dismounted camp at Verona,
Mississippi, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, destroyed the
railroad, sixteen cars loaded with wagons and pontoons for
Hood's army, four thousand new English carbines, and large
amounts of public stores. On the morning of the 28th he
attacked and captured a force of the enemy at Egypt, and
destroyed a train of fourteen cars; thence turning to the
south-west, he struck the Mississippi Central Railroad at
Winona, destroyed the factories and large amounts of stores at
Bankston, and the machine-shops and public property at Grenada,
arriving at Vicksburg January 5th.

During the operations in Middle Tennessee, the enemy, with a
force under General Breckinridge, entered East Tennessee. On
the 13th of November he attacked General Gillem, near
Morristown, capturing his artillery and several hundred
prisoners. Gillem, with what was left of his command, retreated
to Knoxville. Following up his success, Breckinridge moved to
near Knoxville, but withdrew on the 18th, followed by General
Ammen. Under the directions of General Thomas, General Stoneman
concentrated the commands of Generals Burbridge and Gillem near
Bean's Station to operate against Breckinridge, and destroy or
drive him into Virginia--destroy the salt-works at Saltville,
and the railroad into Virginia as far as he could go without
endangering his command. On the 12th of December he commenced
his movement, capturing and dispersing the enemy's forces
wherever he met them. On the 16th he struck the enemy, under
Vaughn, at Marion, completely routing and pursuing him to
Wytheville, capturing all his artillery, trains, and one hundred
and ninety-eight prisoners; and destroyed Wytheville, with its
stores and supplies, and the extensive lead-works near there.
Returning to Marion, he met a force under Breckinridge,
consisting, among other troops, of the garrison of Saltville,
that had started in pursuit. He at once made arrangements to
attack it the next morning; but morning found Breckinridge
gone. He then moved directly to Saltville, and destroyed the
extensive salt-works at that place, a large amount of stores,
and captured eight pieces of artillery. Having thus
successfully executed his instructions, he returned General
Burbridge to Lexington and General Gillem to Knoxville.

Wilmington, North Carolina, was the most important sea-coast
port left to the enemy through which to get supplies from
abroad, and send cotton and other products out by
blockade-runners, besides being a place of great strategic
value. The navy had been making strenuous exertions to seal the
harbor of Wilmington, but with only partial effect. The nature
of the outlet of Cape Fear River was such, that it required
watching for so great a distance that, without possession of the
land north of New Inlet, or Fort Fisher, it was impossible for
the navy to entirely close the harbor against the entrance of

To secure the possession of this land required the co-operation
of a land force, which I agreed to furnish. Immediately
commenced the assemblage in Hampton Roads, under Admiral D. D.
Porter, of the most formidable armada ever collected for
concentration upon one given point. This necessarily attracted
the attention of the enemy, as well as that of the loyal North;
and through the imprudence of the public press, and very likely
of officers of both branches of service, the exact object of the
expedition became a subject of common discussion in the
newspapers both North and South. The enemy, thus warned,
prepared to meet it. This caused a postponement of the
expedition until the later part of November, when, being again
called upon by Hon. G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
I agreed to furnish the men required at once, and went myself,
in company with Major-General Butler, to Hampton Roads, where we
had a conference with Admiral Porter as to the force required and
the time of starting. A force of six thousand five hundred men
was regarded as sufficient. The time of starting was not
definitely arranged, but it was thought all would be ready by
the 6th of December, if not before. Learning, on the 30th of
November, that Bragg had gone to Georgia, taking with him most
of the forces about Wilmington, I deemed it of the utmost
importance that the expedition should reach its destination
before the return of Bragg, and directed General Butler to make
all arrangements for the departure of Major-General Weitzel, who
had been designated to command the land forces, so that the navy
might not be detained one moment.

On the 6th of December, the following instructions were given:

"CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, December 6, 1864.

"GENERAL: The first object of the expedition under General
Weitzel is to close to the enemy the port of Wilmington. If
successful in this, the second will be to capture Wilmington
itself. There are reasonable grounds to hope for success, if
advantage can be taken of the absence of the greater part of the
enemy's forces now looking after Sherman in Georgia. The
directions you have given for the numbers and equipment of the
expedition are all right, except in the unimportant matter of
where they embark and the amount of intrenching tools to be
taken. The object of the expedition will be gained by effecting
a landing on the main land between Cape Fear River and the
Atlantic, north of the north entrance to the river. Should such
landing be effected while the enemy still holds Fort Fisher and
the batteries guarding the entrance to the river, then the
troops should intrench themselves, and, by co-operating with the
navy, effect the reduction and capture of those places. These in
our hands, the navy could enter the harbor, and the port of
Wilmington would be sealed. Should Fort Fisher and the point of
land on which it is built fall into the hands of our troops
immediately on landing, then it will be worth the attempt to
capture Wilmington by a forced march and surprise. If time is
consumed in gaining the first object of the expedition, the
second will become a matter of after consideration.

"The details for execution are intrusted to you and the officer
immediately in command of the troops.

"Should the troops under General Weitzel fail to effect a
landing at or near Fort Fisher, they will be returned to the
armies operating against Richmond without delay.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

General Butler commanding the army from which the troops were
taken for this enterprise, and the territory within which they
were to operate, military courtesy required that all orders and
instructions should go through him. They were so sent, but
General Weitzel has since officially informed me that he never
received the foregoing instructions, nor was he aware of their
existence, until he read General Butler's published official
report of the Fort Fisher failure, with my indorsement and
papers accompanying it. I had no idea of General Butler's
accompanying the expedition until the evening before it got off
from Bermuda Hundred, and then did not dream but that General
Weitzel had received all the instructions, and would be in
command. I rather formed the idea that General Butler was
actuated by a desire to witness the effect of the explosion of
the powder-boat. The expedition was detained several days at
Hampton Roads, awaiting the loading of the powder-boat.

The importance of getting the Wilmington expedition off without
any delay, with or without the powder-boat, had been urged upon
General Butler, and he advised to so notify Admiral Porter.

The expedition finally got off on the 13th of December, and
arrived at the place of rendezvous, off New Inlet, near Fort
Fisher, on the evening of the 15th. Admiral Porter arrived on
the evening of the 18th, having put in at Beaufort to get
ammunition for the monitors. The sea becoming rough, making it
difficult to land troops, and the supply of water and coal being
about exhausted, the transport fleet put back to Beaufort to
replenish; this, with the state of the weather, delayed the
return to the place of rendezvous until the 24th. The
powder-boat was exploded on the morning of the 24th, before the
return of General Butler from Beaufort; but it would seem, from
the notice taken of it in the Southern newspapers, that the
enemy were never enlightened as to the object of the explosion
until they were informed by the Northern press.

On the 25th a landing was effected without opposition, and a
reconnoissance, under Brevet Brigadier-General Curtis, pushed up
towards the fort. But before receiving a full report of the
result of this reconnoissance, General Butler, in direct
violation of the instructions given, ordered the re-embarkation
of the troops and the return of the expedition. The
re-embarkation was accomplished by the morning of the 27th.

On the return of the expedition officers and men among them
Brevet Major-General (then Brevet Brigadier-General) N. M.
Curtis, First-Lieutenant G. W. Ross, 117th Regiment New York
Volunteers, First-Lieutenant William H. Walling, and
Second-Lieutenant George Simpson, 142d New York Volunteers
voluntarily reported to me that when recalled they were nearly
into the fort, and, in their opinion, it could have been taken
without much loss.

Soon after the return of the expedition, I received a dispatch
from the Secretary of the Navy, and a letter from Admiral
Porter, informing me that the fleet was still off Fort Fisher,
and expressing the conviction that, under a proper leader, the
place could be taken. The natural supposition with me was, that
when the troops abandoned the expedition, the navy would do so
also. Finding it had not, however, I answered on the 30th of
December, advising Admiral Porter to hold on, and that I would
send a force and make another attempt to take the place. This
time I selected Brevet Major-General (now Major-General) A. H.
Terry to command the expedition. The troops composing it
consisted of the same that composed the former, with the
addition of a small brigade, numbering about one thousand five
hundred, and a small siege train. The latter it was never found
necessary to land. I communicated direct to the commander of the
expedition the following instructions:

"CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, January 3, 1865.

"GENERAL: The expedition intrusted to your command has been
fitted out to renew the attempt to capture Fort Fisher, N. C.,
and Wilmington ultimately, if the fort falls. You will then
proceed with as little delay as possible to the naval fleet
lying off Cape Fear River, and report the arrival of yourself
and command to Admiral D. D. Porter, commanding North Atlantic
Blockading Squadron.

"It is exceedingly desirable that the most complete
understanding should exist between yourself and the naval
commander. I suggest, therefore, that you consult with Admiral
Porter freely, and get from him the part to be performed by each
branch of the public service, so that there may be unity of
action. It would be well to have the whole programme laid down
in writing. I have served with Admiral Porter, and know that
you can rely on his judgment and his nerve to undertake what he
proposes. I would, therefore, defer to him as much as is
consistent with your own responsibilities. The first object to
be attained is to get a firm position on the spit of land on
which Fort Fisher is built, from which you can operate against
that fort. You want to look to the practicability of receiving
your supplies, and to defending yourself against superior forces
sent against you by any of the avenues left open to the enemy. If
such a position can be obtained, the siege of Fort Fisher will
not be abandoned until its reduction is accomplished, or another
plan of campaign is ordered from these headquarters.

"My own views are, that if you effect a landing, the navy ought
to run a portion of their fleet into Cape Fear River, while the
balance of it operates on the outside. Land forces cannot
invest Fort Fisher, or cut it off from supplies or
reinforcements, while the river is in possession of the enemy.

"A siege-train will be loaded on vessels and sent to Fort
Monroe, in readiness to be sent to you if required. All other
supplies can be drawn from Beaufort as you need them.

"Keep the fleet of vessels with you until your position is
assured. When you find they can be spared, order them back, or
such of them as you can spare, to Fort Monroe, to report for

"In case of failure to effect a landing, bring your command back
to Beaufort, and report to these headquarters for further
instructions. You will not debark at Beaufort until so directed.

"General Sheridan has been ordered to send a division of troops
to Baltimore and place them on sea-going vessels. These troops
will be brought to Fort Monroe and kept there on the vessels
until you are heard from. Should you require them, they will be
sent to you.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Comstock, aide-de-camp (now brevet
brigadier-general), who accompanied the former expedition, was
assigned, in orders, as chief-engineer to this.

It will be seen that these instructions did not differ
materially from those given for the first expedition, and that
in neither instance was there an order to assault Fort Fisher.
This was a matter left entirely to the discretion of the
commanding officer.

The expedition sailed from Fort Monroe on the morning of the
6th, arriving at the rendezvous, off Beaufort, on the 8th,
where, owing to the difficulties of the weather, it lay until
the morning of the 12th, when it got under way and reached its
destination that evening. Under cover of the fleet, the
disembarkation of the troops commenced on the morning of the
13th, and by three o'clock P.M. was completed without loss. On
the 14th a reconnoissance was pushed to within five hundred
yards of Fort Fisher, and a small advance work taken possession
of and turned into a defensive line against any attempt that
might be made from the fort. This reconnoissance disclosed the
fact that the front of the work had been seriously injured by
the navy fire. In the afternoon of the 15th the fort was
assaulted, and after most desperate fighting was captured, with
its entire garrison and armament. Thus was secured, by the
combined efforts of the navy and army, one of the most important
successes of the war. Our loss was: killed, one hundred and
ten; wounded, five hundred and thirty-six. On the 16th and the
17th the enemy abandoned and blew up Fort Caswell and the works
on Smith's Island, which were immediately occupied by us. This
gave us entire control of the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

At my request, Mayor-General B. F. Butler was relieved, and
Major-General E. O. C. Ord assigned to the Department of
Virginia and North Carolina.

The defence of the line of the Tennessee no longer requiring the
force which had beaten and nearly destroyed the only army now
threatening it, I determined to find other fields of operation
for General Thomas's surplus troops--fields from which they
would co-operate with other movements. General Thomas was
therefore directed to collect all troops, not essential to hold
his communications at Eastport, in readiness for orders. On the
7th of January, General Thomas was directed, if he was assured of
the departure of Hood south from Corinth, to send General
Schofield with his corps east with as little delay as
possible. This direction was promptly complied with, and the
advance of the corps reached Washington on the 23d of the same
month, whence it was sent to Fort Fisher and New Bern. On the
26th he was directed to send General A. J. Smith's command and a
division of cavalry to report to General Canby. By the 7th of
February the whole force was en route for its destination.

The State of North Carolina was constituted into a military
department, and General Schofield assigned to command, and
placed under the orders of Major-General Sherman. The following
instructions were given him:

"CITY POINT, VA., January 31, 1865.

"GENERAL:-- * * * Your movements are intended as
co-operative with Sherman's through the States of South and
North Carolina. The first point to be attained is to secure
Wilmington. Goldsboro' will then be your objective point,
moving either from Wilmington or New Bern, or both, as you deem
best. Should you not be able to reach Goldsboro', you will
advance on the line or lines of railway connecting that place
with the sea-coast--as near to it as you can, building the road
behind you. The enterprise under you has two objects: the
first is to give General Sherman material aid, if needed, in his
march north; the second, to open a base of supplies for him on
his line of march. As soon, therefore, as you can determine
which of the two points, Wilmington or New Bern, you can best
use for throwing supplies from, to the interior, you will
commence the accumulation of twenty days' rations and forage for
sixty thousand men and twenty thousand animals. You will get of
these as many as you can house and protect to such point in the
interior as you may be able to occupy. I believe General Palmer
has received some instructions direct from General Sherman on the
subject of securing supplies for his army. You will learn what
steps he has taken, and be governed in your requisitions
accordingly. A supply of ordnance stores will also be necessary.

"Make all requisitions upon the chiefs of their respective
departments in the field with me at City Point. Communicate
with me by every opportunity, and should you deem it necessary
at any time, send a special boat to Fortress Monroe, from which
point you can communicate by telegraph.

"The supplies referred to in these instructions are exclusive of
those required for your own command.

"The movements of the enemy may justify, or even make it your
imperative duty, to cut loose from your base, and strike for the
interior to aid Sherman. In such case you will act on your own
judgment without waiting for instructions. You will report,
however, what you purpose doing. The details for carrying out
these instructions are necessarily left to you. I would urge,
however, if I did not know that you are already fully alive to
the importance of it, prompt action. Sherman may be looked for
in the neighborhood of Goldsboro' any time from the 22d to the
28th of February; this limits your time very materially.

"If rolling-stock is not secured in the capture of Wilmington,
it can be supplied from Washington. A large force of railroad
men have already been sent to Beaufort, and other mechanics will
go to Fort Fisher in a day or two. On this point I have informed
you by telegraph.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

Previous to giving these instructions I had visited Fort Fisher,
accompanied by General Schofield, for the purpose of seeing for
myself the condition of things, and personally conferring with
General Terry and Admiral Porter as to what was best to be done.

Anticipating the arrival of General Sherman at Savannah his army
entirely foot-loose, Hood being then before Nashville, Tennessee,
the Southern railroads destroyed, so that it would take several
months to re-establish a through line from west to east, and
regarding the capture of Lee's army as the most important
operation towards closing the rebellion--I sent orders to
General Sherman on the 6th of December, that after establishing
a base on the sea-coast, with necessary garrison, to include all
his artillery and cavalry, to come by water to City Point with
the balance of his command.

On the 18th of December, having received information of the
defeat and utter rout of Hood's army by General Thomas, and
that, owing to the great difficulty of procuring ocean
transportation, it would take over two months to transport
Sherman's army, and doubting whether he might not contribute as
much towards the desired result by operating from where he was,
I wrote to him to that effect, and asked him for his views as to
what would be best to do. A few days after this I received a
communication from General Sherman, of date 16th December,
acknowledging the receipt of my order of the 6th, and informing
me of his preparations to carry it into effect as soon as he
could get transportation. Also that he had expected, upon
reducing Savannah, instantly to march to Columbia, South
Carolina, thence to Raleigh, and thence to report to me; but
that this would consume about six weeks' time after the fall of
Savannah, whereas by sea he could probably reach me by the
middle of January. The confidence he manifested in this letter
of being able to march up and join me pleased me, and, without
waiting for a reply to my letter of the 18th, I directed him, on
the 28th of December, to make preparations to start as he
proposed, without delay, to break up the railroads in North and
South Carolina, and join the armies operating against Richmond
as soon as he could.

On the 21st of January I informed General Sherman that I had
ordered the 23d corps, Major-General Schofield commanding,
east; that it numbered about twenty-one thousand men; that we
had at Fort Fisher, about eight thousand men; at New Bern, about
four thousand; that if Wilmington was captured, General Schofield
would go there; if not, he would be sent to New Bern; that, in
either event, all the surplus force at both points would move to
the interior towards Goldsboro', in co-operation with his
movement; that from either point railroad communication could be
run out; and that all these troops would be subject to his orders
as he came into communication with them.

In obedience to his instructions, General Schofield proceeded to
reduce Wilmington, North Carolina, in co-operation with the navy
under Admiral Porter, moving his forces up both sides of the
Cape Fear River. Fort Anderson, the enemy's main defence on the
west bank of the river, was occupied on the morning of the 19th,
the enemy having evacuated it after our appearance before it.

After fighting on 20th and 21st, our troops entered Wilmington
on the morning of the 22d, the enemy having retreated towards
Goldsboro' during the night. Preparations were at once made for
a movement on Goldsboro' in two columns--one from Wilmington, and
the other from New Bern--and to repair the railroad leading there
from each place, as well as to supply General Sherman by Cape
Fear River, towards Fayetteville, if it became necessary. The
column from New Bern was attacked on the 8th of March, at Wise's
Forks, and driven back with the loss of several hundred
prisoners. On the 11th the enemy renewed his attack upon our
intrenched position, but was repulsed with severe loss, and fell
back during the night. On the 14th the Neuse River was crossed
and Kinston occupied, and on the 21st Goldsboro' was entered.
The column from Wilmington reached Cox's Bridge, on the Neuse
River, ten miles above Goldsboro', on the 22d.

By the 1st of February, General Sherman's whole army was in
motion from Savannah. He captured Columbia, South Carolina, on
the 17th; thence moved on Goldsboro', North Carolina, via
Fayetteville, reaching the latter place on the 12th of March,
opening up communication with General Schofield by way of Cape
Fear River. On the 15th he resumed his march on Goldsboro'. He
met a force of the enemy at Averysboro', and after a severe fight
defeated and compelled it to retreat. Our loss in this
engagement was about six hundred. The enemy's loss was much
greater. On the 18th the combined forces of the enemy, under
Joe Johnston, attacked his advance at Bentonville, capturing
three guns and driving it back upon the main body. General
Slocum, who was in the advance ascertaining that the whole of
Johnston's army was in the front, arranged his troops on the
defensive, intrenched himself and awaited reinforcements, which
were pushed forward. On the night of the 21st the enemy
retreated to Smithfield, leaving his dead and wounded in our
hands. From there Sherman continued to Goldsboro', which place
had been occupied by General Schofield on the 21st (crossing the
Neuse River ten miles above there, at Cox's Bridge, where General
Terry had got possession and thrown a pontoon-bridge on the 22d),
thus forming a junction with the columns from New Bern and

Among the important fruits of this campaign was the fall of
Charleston, South Carolina. It was evacuated by the enemy on the
night of the 17th of February, and occupied by our forces on the

On the morning of the 31st of January, General Thomas was
directed to send a cavalry expedition, under General Stoneman,
from East Tennessee, to penetrate South Carolina well down
towards Columbia, to destroy the railroads and military
resources of the country, and return, if he was able, to East
Tennessee by way of Salisbury, North Carolina, releasing our
prisoners there, if possible. Of the feasibility of this
latter, however, General Stoneman was to judge. Sherman's
movements, I had no doubt, would attract the attention of all
the force the enemy could collect, and facilitate the execution
of this. General Stoneman was so late in making his start on
this expedition (and Sherman having passed out of the State of
South Carolina), on the 27th of February I directed General
Thomas to change his course, and order him to repeat his raid of
last fall, destroying the railroad towards Lynchburg as far as he
could. This would keep him between our garrisons in East
Tennessee and the enemy. I regarded it not impossible that in
the event of the enemy being driven from Richmond, he might fall
back to Lynchburg and attempt a raid north through East
Tennessee. On the 14th of February the following communication
was sent to General Thomas:


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