The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Vol. I., Part 2
William T. Sherman

Part 5 out of 6

division in advance, with orders to turn aside toward Trenton, to
make the enemy believe we were going to turn Braggs left by pretty
much the same road Rosecrans had followed; but with the other three
divisions I followed the main road, via the Big Trestle at
Whitesides, and reached General Hooker's headquarters, just above
Wauhatchee, on the 20th; my troops strung all the way back to
Bridgeport. It was on this occasion that the Fifteenth Corps
gained its peculiar badge: as the men were trudging along the
deeply-cut, muddy road, of a cold, drizzly day, one of our Western
soldiers left his ranks and joined a party of the Twelfth Corps at
their camp-fire. They got into conversation, the Twelfth-Corps men
asking what troops we were, etc., etc. In turn, our fellow (who
had never seen a corps-badge, and noticed that every thing was
marked with a star) asked if they were all brigadier-generals. Of
course they were not, but the star was their corps-badge, and every
wagon, tent, hat, etc., had its star. Then the Twelfth-Corps men
inquired what corps he belonged to, and he answered, "The Fifteenth
Corps." "What is your badge?" "Why," said he (and he was an
Irishman), suiting the action to the word, "forty rounds in the
cartridge-box, and twenty in the pocket." At that time Blair
commanded the corps; but Logan succeeded soon after, and, hearing
the story, adopted the cartridge-box and forty rounds as the

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

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

TENNESSEE, Nov. 25, 1863

Major-General SHERMAN.

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

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

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

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

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

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

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

TENNESSEE, Nov. 29, 1863

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN

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

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

U. S. GRANT, Major-General commanding,

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALABAMA December 19, 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the roads were filled with all the troops they could possibly
accommodate, I turned to the east, to fulfill another part of the
general plan, viz., to break up all communication between Bragg and

We had all sorts of rumors as to the latter, but it was manifest
that we should interpose a proper force between these two armies.
I therefore directed General Howard to move to Parker's Gap, and
thence send rapidly a competent force to Red Clay, or the
Council-Ground, there to destroy a large section of the railroad
which connects Dalton and Cleveland. This work was most
successfully and fully accomplished that day. The division of
General Jeff. C. Davis was moved close up to Ringgold, to assist
General Hooker if needed, and the Fifteenth Corps was held at
Grayeville, for any thing that might turn up. About noon I had a
message from General Hooker, saying he had had a pretty hard fight
at the mountain-pass just beyond Ringgold, and he wanted me to come
forward to turn the position. He was not aware at the time that
Howard, by moving through Parker's Gap toward Red Clay, had already
turned it. So I rode forward to Ringgold in person, and found the
enemy had already fallen back to Tunnel Hill. He was already out
of the valley of the Chickamauga, and on ground whence the waters
flow to the Coosa. He was out of Tennessee.

I found General Grant at Ringgold, and, after some explanations as
to breaking up the railroad from Ringgold back to the State line,
as soon as some cars loaded with wounded men could be pushed back
to Chickamauga depot, I was ordered to move slowly and leisurely
back to Chattanooga.

On the following day the Fifteenth Corps destroyed absolutely and
effectually the railroad from a point half-way between Ringgold and
Graysville, back to the State line; and General Grant, coming to
Graysville, consented that, instead of returning direct to
Chattanooga, I might send back all my artillery-wagons and
impediments, and make a circuit by the north as far as the
Hiawasaee River.

Accordingly, on the morning of November 29th, General Howard moved
from Parker's Gap to Cleveland, General Davis by way of McDaniel's
Gap, and General Blair with two divisions of the Fifteenth Corps by
way of Julien's Gap, all meeting at Cleveland that night. Here
another good break was made in the Dalton & Cleveland road. On the
30th the army moved to Charleston, General Howard approaching so
rapidly that the enemy evacuated with haste, leaving the bridge but
partially damaged, and five car-loads of flour and provisions on
the north bank of the Hiawassee.

This was to have been the limit of our operations. Officers and
men had brought no baggage or provisions, and the weather was
bitter cold. I had already reached the town of Charleston, when
General Wilson arrived with a letter from General Grant, at
Chattanooga, informing me that the latest authentic accounts from
Knoxville were to the 27th, at which time General Burnside was
completely invested, and had provisions only to include the 3d of
December; that General Granger had left Chattanooga for Knoxville,
by the river-road, with a steamboat following him in the river; but
he feared that General Granger could not reach Knoxville in time,
and ordered me to take command of all troops moving for the relief
of Knoxville, and hasten to General Burnside. Seven days before,
we had left our camps on the other side of the Tennessee with two
days' rations, without a change of clothing--stripped for the
fight, with but a single blanket or coat per man, from myself to
the private included.

Of course, we then had no provisions save what we gathered by the
road, and were ill supplied for such a march. But we learned that
twelve thousand of our fellow-soldiers were beleaguered in the
mountain town of Knoxville, eighty-four miles distant; that they
needed relief, and must have it in three days. This was enough
--and it had to be done. General Howard that night repaired and
planked the railroad-bridge, and at daylight the army passed over
the Hiawassee and marched to Athens, fifteen miles. I had supposed
rightly that General Granger was about the mouth of the Hiawassee,
and had sent him notice of my orders; that General Grant had sent
me a copy of his written instructions, which were full and
complete, and that he must push for Kingston, near which we would
make a junction. But by the time I reached Athens I had better
studied the geography, and sent him orders, which found him at
Decatur, that Kingston was out of our way; that he should send his
boat to Kingston, but with his command strike across to
Philadelphia, and report to me there. I had but a small force of
cavalry, which was, at the time of my receipt of General Grant's
orders, scouting over about Benton and Columbus. I left my aide,
Major McCoy, at Charleston, to communicate with this cavalry and
hurry it forward. It overtook me in the night at Athens.

On the 2d of December the army moved rapidly north toward Loudon,
twenty-six miles distant. About 11 a.m., the cavalry passed to the
head of the column, was ordered to push to London, and, if
possible, to save a pontoon-bridge across the Tennessee, held by a
brigade of the enemy commanded by General Vaughn. The cavalry
moved with such rapidity as to capture every picket; but the
brigade of Vaughn had artillery in position, covered by earthworks,
and displayed a force too respectable to be carried by a cavalry
dash, so that darkness closed in before General Howard's infantry
got up. The enemy abandoned the place in the night, destroying the
pontoons, running three locomotives and forty-eight cars into the
Tennessee River, and abandoned much provision, four guns, and other
material, which General Howard took at daylight. But the bridge
was gone, and we were forced to turn east and trust to General
Burnside's bridge at Knoxville. It was all-important that General
Burnside should have notice of our coming, and but one day of the
time remained.

Accordingly, at Philadelphia, during the night of the 2d of
December, I sent my aide (Major Audenried) forward to Colonel Long,
commanding the brigade of cavalry at London, to explain to him how
all-important it was that notice of our approach should reach
General Burnside within twenty-four hours, ordering him to select
the best materials of his command, to start at once, ford the
Little Tennessee, and push into Knoxville at whatever cost of life
and horse-flesh. Major Audenried was ordered to go along. The
distance to be traveled was about forty miles, and the roads
villainous. Before day they were off, and at daylight the
Fifteenth Corps was turned from Philadelphia for the Little
Tennessee at Morgantown, where my maps represented the river as
being very shallow; but it was found too deep for fording, and the
water was freezing cold--width two hundred and forty yards, depth
from two to five feet; horses could ford, but artillery and men
could not. A bridge was indispensable. General Wilson (who
accompanied me) undertook to superintend the bridge, and I am under
many obligations to him, as I was without an engineer, having sent
Captain Jenny back from Graysville to survey our field of battle.
We had our pioneers, but only such tools as axes, picks, and
spades. General Wilson, working partly with cut wood and partly
with square trestles (made of the houses of the late town of
Morgantown), progressed apace, and by dark of December 4th troops
and animals passed over the bridge, and by daybreak of the 5th the
Fifteenth Corps (General Blair's) was over, and Generals-Granger's
and Davis's divisions were ready to pass; but the diagonal bracing
was imperfect for, want of spikes, and the bridge broke, causing
delay. I had ordered General Blair to move out on the Marysville
road five miles, there to await notice that General Granger was on
a parallel road abreast of him, and in person I was at a house
where the roads parted, when a messenger rode up, bringing me a few
words from General Burnside, to the effect that Colonel Long had
arrived at Knoxville with his cavalry, and that all was well with
him there; Longstreet still lay before the place, but there were
symptoms of his speedy departure.

I felt that I had accomplished the first great step in the problem
for the relief of General Burnside's army, but still urged on the
work. As soon as the bridge was mended, all the troops moved
forward. General Howard had marched from Loudon, had found a
pretty good ford for his horses and wagons at Davis's, seven miles
below Morgantown, and had made an ingenious bridge of the wagons
left by General Vaughn at London, on which to pass his men. He
marched by Unitia and Louisville. On the night of the 5th all the
heads of columns communicated at Marysville, where I met Major Van
Buren (of General Burnside's staff), who announced that Longstreet
had the night before retreated on the Rutledge, Rogersville, and
Bristol road, leading to Virginia; that General Burnside's cavalry
was on his heels; and that the general desired to see me in person
as soon as I could come to Knoxville. I ordered all the troops to
halt and rest, except the two divisions of General Granger, which
were ordered to move forward to Little River, and General Granger
to report in person to General Burnside for orders. His was the
force originally designed to reenforce General Burnside, and it was
eminently proper that it should join in the stern-chase after

On the morning of December 6th I rode from Marysville into
Knoxville, and met General Burnside. General Granger arrived later
in the day. We examined his lines of fortifications, which were a
wonderful production for the short time allowed in their selection
of ground and construction of work. It seemed to me that they were
nearly impregnable. We examined the redoubt named "Sanders,"
where, on the Sunday previous, three brigades of the enemy had
assaulted and met a bloody repulse. Now, all was peaceful and
quiet; but a few hours before, the deadly bullet sought its victim
all round about that hilly barrier.

The general explained to me fully and frankly what he had done, and
what he proposed to do. He asked of me nothing but General
Granger's command; and suggested, in view of the large force I had
brought from Chattanooga, that I should return with due expedition
to the line of the Hiawasaee, lest Bragg, reenforced, might take
advantage of our absence to resume the offensive. I asked him to
reduce this to writing, which he did, and I here introduce it as
part of my report:

KNOXVILLE, December 7, 1863

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding, etc.

GENERAL: I desire to express to you and your command my most hearty
thanks and gratitude for your promptness in coming to our relief
during the siege of Knoxville, and I am satisfied your approach
served to raise the siege. The emergency having passed, I do not
deem, for the present, any other portion of your command but the
corps of General Granger necessary for operations in this section;
and, inasmuch as General Grant has weakened the forces immediately
with him in order to relieve us (thereby rendering the position of
General Thomas less secure), I deem it advisable that all the
troops now here, save those commanded by General Granger, should
return at once to within supporting distance of the forces in front
of Bragg's army. In behalf of my command, I desire again to thank
you and your command for the kindness you have done us.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE, Major-General commanding.

Accordingly, having seen General Burnside's forces move out of
Knoxville in pursuit of Longstreet, and General Granger's move in,
I put in motion my own command to return. General Howard was
ordered to move, via Davis's Ford and Sweetwater, to Athena, with a
guard forward at Charleston, to hold and repair the bridge which
the enemy had retaken after our passage up. General Jeff. C.
Davis moved to Columbus, on the Hiawaesee, via Madisonville, and
the two divisions of the Fifteenth Corps moved to Tellico Plains,
to cover movement of cavalry across the mountains into Georgia, to
overtake a wagon-train which had dodged us on our way up, and had
escaped by way of Murphy. Subsequently, on a report from General
Howard that the enemy held Charleston, I diverted General Ewing's
division to Athena, and went in person to Tellico with General
Morgan L. Smith's division. By the 9th all our troops were in
position, and we held the rich country between the Little Tennessee
and the Hiawasaee. The cavalry, under Colonel Long, passed the
mountain at Tellico, and proceeded about seventeen miles beyond
Murphy, when Colonel Long, deeming his farther pursuit of the
wagon-train useless, returned on the 12th to Tellico. I then
ordered him and the division of General Morgan L. Smith to move to
Charleston, to which point I had previously ordered the corps of
General Howard.

On the 14th of December all of my command in the field lay along
the Hiawassee. Having communicated to General Grant the actual
state of affairs, I received orders to leave, on the line of the
Hiawassee, all the cavalry, and come to Chattanooga with the rest
of my command. I left the brigade of cavalry commanded by Colonel
Long, reenforced by the Fifth Ohio Cavalry (Lieutenant-Colonel
Heath)--the only cavalry properly belonging to the Fifteenth Army
Corps--at Charleston, and with the remainder moved by easy marches,
by Cleveland and Tyner's Depot, into Chattanooga, where I received
in person from General Grant orders to transfer back to their
appropriate commands the corps of General Howard and the division
commanded by General Jeff. C. Davis, and to conduct the Fifteenth
Army Corps to its new field of operations.

It will thus appear that we have been constantly in motion since
our departure from the Big Black, in Mississippi, until the present
moment. I have been unable to receive from subordinate commanders
the usual full, detailed reports of events, and have therefore been
compelled to make up this report from my own personal memory; but,
as soon as possible, subordinate reports will be received and duly

In reviewing the facts, I must do justice to the men of my command
for the patience, cheerfulness, and courage which officers and men
have displayed throughout, in battle, on the march, and in camp.
For long periods, without regular rations or supplies of any kind,
they have marched through mud and over rocks, sometimes barefooted,
without a murmur. Without a moment's rest after a march of over
four hundred miles, without sleep for three successive nights, we
crossed the Tennessee, fought our part of the battle of
Chattanooga, pursued the enemy out of Tennessee, and then turned
more than a hundred and twenty miles north and compelled Longstreet
to raise the siege of Knoxville, which gave so much anxiety to the
whole country. It is hard to realize the importance of these
events without recalling the memory of the general feeling which
pervaded all minds at Chattanooga prior to our arrival. I cannot
speak of the Fifteenth Army Corps without a seeming vanity; but as
I am no longer its commander, I assert that there is no better body
of soldiers in America than it. I wish all to feel a just pride in
its real honors.

To General Howard and his command, to General Jeff. C. Davis and
his, I am more than usually indebted for the intelligence of
commanders and fidelity of commands. The brigade of Colonel
Bushbeck, belonging to the Eleventh Corps, which was the first to
come out of Chattanooga to my flank, fought at the Tunnel Hill, in
connection with General Ewing's division, and displayed a courage
almost amounting to rashness. Following the enemy almost to the
tunnel-gorge, it lost many valuable lives, prominent among them
Lieutenant-Colonel Taft, spoken of as a most gallant soldier.

In General Howard throughout I found a polished and Christian
gentleman, exhibiting the highest and most chivalric traits of the
soldier. General Davis handled his division with artistic skill,
more especially at the moment we encountered the enemy's
rear-guard, near Graysville, at nightfall. I must award to this
division the credit of the best order during our movement through
East Tennessee, when long marches and the necessity of foraging to
the right and left gave some reason for disordered ranks:

Inasmuch as exception may be taken to my explanation of the
temporary confusion, during the battle of Chattanooga, of the two
brigades of General Matthias and Colonel Raum, I will here state
that I saw the whole; and attach no blame to any one. Accidents
will happen in battle, as elsewhere; and at the point where they so
manfully went to relieve the pressure on other parts of our
assaulting line, they exposed themselves unconsciously to an enemy
vastly superior in force, and favored by the shape of the ground.
Had that enemy come out on equal terms, those brigades would have
shown their mettle, which has been tried more than once before and
stood the test of fire. They reformed their ranks, and were ready
to support General Ewing's division in a very few minutes; and the
circumstance would have hardly called for notice on my part, had
not others reported what was seen from Chattanooga, a distance of
nearly five miles, from where could only be seen the troops in the
open field in which this affair occurred.

I now subjoin the best report of casualties I am able to compile
from the records thus far received:

Killed; Wounded; and Missing............... 1949

No report from General Davis's division, but loss is small.

Among the killed were some of our most valuable officers: Colonels
Putnam, Ninety-third Illinois; O'Meara, Ninetieth Illinois; and
Torrence, Thirtieth Iowa; Lieutenant-Colonel-Taft, of the Eleventh
Corps; and Major Bushnell, Thirteenth Illinois.

Among the wounded are Brigadier-Generals Giles A. Smith, Corse, and
Matthias; Colonel Raum; Colonel Waugelin, Twelfth Missouri;
Lieutenant-Colonel Partridge, Thirteenth Illinois; Major P. I.
Welsh, Fifty-sixth Illinois; and Major Nathan McAlla, Tenth Iowa.

Among the missing is Lieutenant-Colonel Archer, Seventeenth Iowa.

My report is already so long, that I must forbear mentioning acts
of individual merit. These will be recorded in the reports of
division commanders, which I will cheerfully indorse; but I must
say that it is but justice that colonels of regiments, who have so
long and so well commanded brigades, as in the following cases,
should be commissioned to the grade which they have filled with so
much usefulness and credit to the public service, viz.: Colonel J.
R. Cockerell, Seventieth, Ohio; Colonel J. M. Loomis, Twenty-sixth
Illinois; Colonel C. C. Walcutt, Forty-sixth Ohio; Colonel J. A.
Williamson, Fourth Iowa; Colonel G. B. Raum, Fifty-sixth Illinois;
Colonel J. I. Alexander, Fifty-ninth Indiana.

My personal staff, as usual, have served their country with
fidelity, and credit to themselves, throughout these events, and
have received my personal thanks.

Inclosed you will please find a map of that part of the
battle-field of Chattanooga fought over by the troops under my
command, surveyed and drawn by Captain Jenney, engineer on my
staff. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

[General Order No. 68.]

WASHINGTON, February 21, 1884

Joint resolution tendering the thanks of Congress to Major-General
W. T. Sherman and others.

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That the thanks of
Congress and of the people of the United States are due, and that
the same are hereby tendered, to Major-General W. T. Sherman,
commander of the Department and Army of the Tennessee, and the
officers and soldiers who served under him, for their gallant and
arduous services in marching to the relief of the Army of the
Cumberland, and for their gallantry and heroism in the battle of
Chattanooga, which contributed in a great degree to the success of
our arms in that glorious victory.

Approved February 19, 1864.
By order of the Secretary of War:

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

On the 19th of December I was at Bridgeport, and gave all the
orders necessary for the distribution of the four divisions of the
Fifteenth Corps along the railroad from Stevenson to Decatur, and
the part of the Sixteenth Corps; commanded by General Dodge, along
the railroad from Decatur to Nashville, to make the needed repairs,
and to be in readiness for the campaign of the succeeding year; and
on the 21st I went up to Nashville, to confer with General Grant
and conclude the arrangements for the winter. At that time General
Grant was under the impression that the next campaign would be up
the valley of East Tennessee, in the direction of Virginia; and as
it was likely to be the last and most important campaign of the
war, it became necessary to set free as many of the old troops
serving along the Mississippi River as possible. This was the real
object and purpose of the Meridian campaign, and of Banks's
expedition up Red River to Shreveport during that winter.




The winter of 1863-'64 opened very cold and severe; and it was
manifest after the battle of Chattanooga, November 25, 1863, and
the raising of the siege of Knoxville, December 5th, that military
operations in that quarter must in a measure cease, or be limited
to Burnside's force beyond Knoxville. On the 21st of December
General Grant had removed his headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee,
leaving General George H. Thomas at Chattanooga, in command of the
Department of the Cumberland, and of the army round about that
place; and I was at Bridgeport, with orders to distribute my troops
along the railroad from Stevenson to Decatur, Alabama, and from
Decatur up toward Nashville.

General G. M. Dodge, who was in command of the detachment of the
Sixteenth Corps, numbering about eight thousand men, had not
participated with us in the battle of Chattanooga, but had remained
at and near Pulaski, Tennessee, engaged in repairing that railroad,
as auxiliary to the main line which led from Nashville to
Stevenson, and Chattanooga. General John A. Logan had succeeded to
the command of the Fifteenth Corps, by regular appointment of the
President of the United States, and had relieved General Frank P.
Blair, who had been temporarily in command of that corps during the
Chattanooga and Knoxville movement.

At that time I was in command of the Department of the Tennessee,
which embraced substantially the territory on the east bank of the
Mississippi River, from Natchez up to the Ohio River, and thence
along the Tennessee River as high as Decatur and Bellefonte,
Alabama. General McPherson was at Vicksburg and General Hurlbut at
Memphis, and from them I had the regular reports of affairs in that
quarter of my command. The rebels still maintained a considerable
force of infantry and cavalry in the State of Mississippi,
threatening the river, whose navigation had become to us so
delicate and important a matter. Satisfied that I could check this
by one or two quick moves inland, and thereby set free a
considerable body of men held as local garrisons, I went up to
Nashville and represented the case to General Grant, who consented
that I might go down the Mississippi River, where the bulk of my
command lay, and strike a blow on the east of the river, while
General Banks from New Orleans should in like manner strike another
to the west; thus preventing any further molestation of the boats
navigating the main river, and thereby widening the gap in the
Southern Confederacy.

After having given all the necessary orders for the distribution,
during the winter months, of that part of my command which was in
Southern and Middle Tennessee, I went to Cincinnati and Lancaster,
Ohio, to spend Christmas with my family; and on my return I took
Minnie with me down to a convent at Reading, near Cincinnati, where
I left her, and took the cars for Cairo, Illinois, which I reached
January 3d, a very cold and bitter day. The ice was forming fast,
and there was great danger that the Mississippi River, would become
closed to navigation. Admiral Porter, who was at Cairo, gave me a
small gunboat (the Juliet), with which I went up to Paducah, to
inspect that place, garrisoned by a small force; commanded by
Colonel S. G. Hicks, Fortieth Illinois, who had been with me and
was severely wounded at Shiloh. Returning to Cairo, we started
down the Mississippi River, which was full of floating ice. With
the utmost difficulty we made our way through it, for hours
floating in the midst of immense cakes, that chafed and ground our
boat so that at times we were in danger of sinking. But about the
10th of January we reached Memphis, where I found General Hurlbut,
and explained to him my purpose to collect from his garrisons and
those of McPherson about twenty thousand men, with which in
February to march out from Vicksburg as far as Meridian, break up
the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and also the one leading from Vicksburg
to Selma, Alabama. I instructed him to select two good divisions,
and to be ready with them to go along. At Memphis I found
Brigadier-General W. Sooy Smith, with a force of about twenty-five
hundred cavalry, which he had by General Grant's orders brought
across from Middle Tennessee, to assist in our general purpose, as
well as to punish the rebel General Forrest, who had been most
active in harassing our garrisons in West Tennessee and
Mississippi. After staying a couple of days at Memphis, we
continued on in the gunboat Silver Cloud to Vicksburg, where I
found General McPherson, and, giving him similar orders, instructed
him to send out spies to ascertain and bring back timely
information of the strength and location of the enemy. The winter
continued so severe that the river at Vicksburg was full of
floating ice, but in the Silver Cloud we breasted it manfully, and
got back to Memphis by the 20th. A chief part of the enterprise
was to destroy the rebel cavalry commanded by General Forrest, who
were a constant threat to our railway communications in Middle
Tennessee, and I committed this task to Brigadier-General W. Sooy
Smith. General Hurlbut had in his command about seven thousand
five hundred cavalry, scattered from Columbus, Kentucky, to
Corinth, Mississippi, and we proposed to make up an aggregate
cavalry force of about seven thousand "effective," out of these and
the twenty-five hundred which General Smith had brought with him
from Middle Tennessee. With this force General Smith was ordered
to move from Memphis straight for Meridian, Mississippi, and to
start by February 1st. I explained to him personally the nature of
Forrest as a man, and of his peculiar force; told him that in his
route he was sure to encounter Forrest, who always attacked with a
vehemence for which he must be prepared, and that, after he had
repelled the first attack, he must in turn assume the most
determined offensive, overwhelm him and utterly destroy his whole
force. I knew that Forrest could not have more than four thousand
cavalry, and my own movement would give employment to every other
man of the rebel army not immediately present with him, so that he
(General Smith) might safely act on the hypothesis I have stated.

Having completed all these preparations in Memphis, being satisfied
that the cavalry force would be ready to start by the 1st of
February, and having seen General Hurlbut with his two divisions
embark in steamers for Vicksburg, I also reembarked for the same
destination on the 27th of January.

On the 1st of February we rendezvoused in Vicksburg, where I found
a spy who had been sent out two weeks before, had been to Meridian,
and brought back correct information of the state of facts in the
interior of Mississippi. Lieutenant-General (Bishop) Polk was in
chief command, with headquarters at Meridian, and had two divisions
of infantry, one of which (General Loring's) was posted at Canton,
Mississippi, the other (General French's) at Brandon. He had also
two divisions of cavalry--Armstrong's, composed of the three
brigades of Ross, Stark, and Wirt Adams, which were scattered from
the neighborhood of Yazoo City to Jackson and below; and Forrest's,
which was united, toward Memphis, with headquarters at Como.
General Polk seemed to have no suspicion of our intentions to
disturb his serenity.

Accordingly, on the morning of February 3d, we started in two
columns, each of two divisions, preceded by a light force of
cavalry, commanded by Colonel E. F. Winslow. General McPherson
commanded the right column, and General Hurlbut the left. The
former crossed the Big Black at the railroad-bridge, and the latter
seven miles above, at Messinger's. We were lightly equipped as to
wagons, and marched without deployment straight for Meridian,
distant one hundred and fifty miles. We struck the rebel cavalry
beyond the Big Black, and pushed them pell-mell into and beyond
Jackson during the 6th. The next day we reached Brandon, and on
the 9th Morton, where we perceived signs of an infantry
concentration, but the enemy did not give us battle, and retreated
before us. The rebel cavalry were all around us, so we kept our
columns compact and offered few or no chances for their dashes. As
far as Morton we had occupied two roads, but there we were forced
into one. Toward evening of the 12th, Hurlbut's column passed
through Decatur, with orders to go into camp four miles beyond at a
creek. McPherson's head of column was some four miles behind, and
I personally detached one of Hurlbut's regiments to guard the
cross-roads at Decatur till the head of McPherson's column should
come in sight. Intending to spend the night in Decatur, I went to
a double log-house, and arranged with the lady for some supper. We
unsaddled our horses, tied them to the fence inside the yard, and,
being tired, I lay down on a bed and fell asleep. Presently I
heard shouts and hallooing, and then heard pistol-shots close to
the house. My aide, Major Audenried, called me and said we were
attacked by rebel cavalry, who were all around us. I jumped up and
inquired where was the regiment of infantry I had myself posted at
the cross-roads. He said a few moments before it had marched past
the house, following the road by which General Hurlbut had gone,
and I told him to run, overtake it, and bring it back. Meantime, I
went out into the back-yard, saw wagons passing at a run down the
road, and horsemen dashing about in a cloud of dust, firing their
pistols, their shots reaching the house in which we were.
Gathering the few orderlies and clerks that were about, I was
preparing to get into a corn-crib at the back side of the lot,
wherein to defend ourselves, when I saw Audenried coming back with
the regiment, on a run, deploying forward as they came. This
regiment soon cleared the place and drove the rebel cavalry back
toward the south, whence they had come.

It transpired that the colonel of this infantry regiment, whose
name I do not recall, had seen some officers of McPherson's staff
(among them Inspector-General Strong) coming up the road at a
gallop, raising a cloud of duet; supposing them to be the head of
McPherson's column, and being anxious to get into camp before dark,
he had called in his pickets and started down the road, leaving me
perfectly exposed. Some straggling wagons, escorted by a New
Jersey regiment, were passing at the time, and composed the rear of
Hurlbut's train. The rebel cavalry, seeing the road clear of
troops, and these wagons passing, struck them in flank, shot down
the mules of three or four wagons, broke the column, and began a
general skirmish. The escort defended their wagons as well as they
could, and thus diverted their attention; otherwise I would surely
have been captured. In a short time the head of McPherson's column
came up, went into camp, and we spent the night in Decatur.

The next day we pushed on, and on the 14th entered Meridian, the
enemy retreating before us toward Demopolis, Alabama. We at once
set to work to destroy an arsenal, immense storehouses, and the
railroad in every direction. We staid in Meridian five days,
expecting every hour to hear of General Sooy Smith, but could get
no tidings of him whatever. A large force of infantry was kept at
work all the time in breaking up the Mobile & Ohio Railroad south
and north; also the Jackson & Selma Railroad, east and west. I was
determined to damage these roads so that they could not be used
again for hostile purposes during the rest of the war. I never had
the remotest idea of going to Mobile, but had purposely given out
that idea to the people of the country, so as to deceive the enemy
and to divert their attention. Many persons still insist that,
because we did not go to Mobile on this occasion, I had failed; but
in the following letter to General Banks, of January 31st, written
from Vicksburg before starting for Meridian, it will be seen
clearly that I indicated my intention to keep up the delusion of an
attack on Mobile by land, whereas I promised him to be back to
Vicksburg by the 1st of March, so as to cooperate with him in his
contemplated attack on Shreveport:

VICKSBURG, January 31, 1864

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

GENERAL: I received yesterday, at the hands of Captain Durham,
aide-de-camp, your letter of the 25th inst., and hasten to reply.
Captain Durham has gone to the mouth of White River, en route for
Little Rock, and the other officers who accompanied him have gone
up to Cairo, as I understand, to charter twenty-five steamboats for
the Red River trip. The Mississippi River, though low for the
season, is free of ice and in good boating order; but I understand
that Red River is still low. I had a man in from Alexandria
yesterday, who reported the falls or rapids at that place
impassable save by the smallest boats. My inland expedition is now
moving, and I will be off for Jackson and Meridian to-morrow. The
only fear I have is in the weather. All the other combinations are
good. I want to keep up the delusion of an attack on Mobile and
the Alabama River, and therefore would be obliged if you would keep
up an irritating foraging or other expedition in that direction.

My orders from General Grant will not, as yet, justify me in
embarking for Red River, though I am very anxious to move in that
direction. The moment I learned that you were preparing for it, I
sent a communication to Admiral Porter, and dispatched to General
Grant at Chattanooga, asking if he wanted me and Steele to
cooperate with you against Shreveport; and I will have his answer
in time, for you cannot do any thing till Red River has twelve feet
of water on the rapids at Alexandria. That will be from March to
June. I have lived on Red River, and know somewhat of the phases
of that stream. The expedition on Shreveport should be made
rapidly, with simultaneous movements from Little Rock on
Shreveport, from Opelousas on Alexandria, and a combined force of
gunboats and transports directly up Red River. Admiral Porter will
be able to have a splendid fleet by March 1st. I think Steele
could move with ten thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry. I
could take about ten thousand, and you could, I suppose, have the
same. Your movement from Opelousas, simultaneous with mine up the
river, would compel Dick Taylor to leave Fort De Russy (near
Marksville), and the whole combined force could appear at
Shreveport about a day appointed beforehand.

I doubt if the enemy will risk a siege at Shreveport, although I am
informed they are fortifying the place, and placing many heavy guns
in position. It would be better for us that they should stand
there, as we might make large and important captures. But I do not
believe the enemy will fight a force of thirty thousand men, acting
in concert with gunboats.

I will be most happy to take part in the proposed expedition, and
hope, before you have made your final dispositions, that I will
have the necessary permission. Half the Army of the Tennessee is
near the Tennessee River, beyond Huntsville, Alabama, awaiting the
completion of the railroad, and, by present orders, I will be
compelled to hasten there to command it in person, unless meantime
General Grant modifies the plan. I have now in this department
only the force left to hold the river and the posts, and I am
seriously embarrassed by the promises made the veteran volunteers
for furlough. I think, by March 1st, I can put afloat for
Shreveport ten thousand men, provided I succeed in my present
movement in cleaning out the State of Mississippi, and in breaking
up the railroads about Meridian.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

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

The object of the Meridian expedition was to strike the roads
inland, so to paralyze the rebel forces that we could take from the
defense of the Mississippi River the equivalent of a corps of
twenty thousand men, to be used in the next Georgia campaign; and
this was actually done. At the same time, I wanted to destroy
General Forrest, who, with an irregular force of cavalry, was
constantly threatening Memphis and the river above, as well as our
routes of supply in Middle Tennessee. In this we failed utterly,
because General W. Sooy Smith did not fulfill his orders, which
were clear and specific, as contained in my letter of instructions
to him of January 27th, at Memphis, and my personal explanations to
him at the same time. Instead of starting at the date ordered,
February 1st, he did not leave Memphis till the 11th, waiting for
Warings brigade that was ice-bound near Columbus, Kentucky; and
then, when he did start, he allowed General Forrest to head him off
and to defeat him with an inferior force, near West Point, below
Okalona, on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

We waited at Meridian till the 20th to hear from General Smith, but
hearing nothing whatever, and having utterly destroyed the
railroads in and around that junction, I ordered General McPherson
to move back slowly toward Canton. With Winslow's cavalry, and
Hurlbut's infantry, I turned north to Marion, and thence to a place
called "Union," whence I dispatched the cavalry farther north to
Philadelphia and Louisville, to feel as it were for General Smith,
and then turned all the infantry columns toward Canton,
Mississippi. On the 26th we all reached Canton, but we had not
heard a word of General Smith, nor was it until some time after (at
Vicksburg) that I learned the whole truth of General Smith's
movement and of his failure. Of course I did not and could not
approve of his conduct, and I know that he yet chafes under the
censure. I had set so much store on his part of the project that I
was disappointed, and so reported officially to General Grant.
General Smith never regained my confidence as a soldier, though I
still regard him as a most accomplished gentleman and a skillful
engineer. Since the close of the war he has appealed to me to
relieve him of that censure, but I could not do it, because it
would falsify history.

Having assembled all my troops in and about Canton, on the 27th of
February I left them under the command of the senior major-general,
Hurlbut, with orders to remain till about the 3d of March, and then
to come into Vicksburg leisurely; and, escorted by Winslow's
cavalry, I rode into Vicksburg on the last day of February. There
I found letters from General Grant, at Nashville, and General
Banks, at New Orleans, concerning his (General Banks's) projected
movement up Red River. I was authorized by the former to
contribute aid to General Banks for a limited time; but General
Grant insisted on my returning in person to my own command about
Huntsville, Alabama, as soon as possible, to prepare for the spring

About this time we were much embarrassed by a general order of the
War Department, promising a thirty-days furlough to all soldiers
who would "veteranize"--viz., reenlist for the rest of the war.
This was a judicious and wise measure, because it doubtless secured
the services of a very large portion of the men who had almost
completed a three-years enlistment, and were therefore veteran
soldiers in feeling and in habit. But to furlough so many of our
men at that instant of time was like disbanding an army in the very
midst of battle.

In order to come to a perfect understanding with General Banks, I
took the steamer Diana and ran down to New Orleans to see him.
Among the many letters which I found in Vicksburg on my return from
Meridian was one from Captain D. F. Boyd, of Louisiana, written
from the jail in Natchez, telling me that he was a prisoner of war
in our hands; had been captured in Louisiana by some of our scouts;
and he bespoke my friendly assistance. Boyd was Professor of
Ancient Languages at the Louisiana Seminary of Learning during my
administration, in 1859-'60; was an accomplished scholar, of
moderate views in politics, but, being a Virginian, was drawn, like
all others of his kind, into the vortex of the rebellion by the
events of 1861, which broke up colleges and every thing at the
South. Natchez, at this time, was in my command, and was held by a
strong division, commanded by Brigadier-General J. W. Davidson. In
the Diana we stopped at Natchez, and I made a hasty inspection of
the place. I sent for Boyd, who was in good health, but quite
dirty, and begged me to take him out of prison, and to effect his
exchange. I receipted for him; took him along with me to New
Orleans; offered him money, which he declined; allowed him to go
free in the city; and obtained from General Banks a promise to
effect his exchange, which was afterward done. Boyd is now my
legitimate successor in Louisiana, viz., President of the Louisiana
University, which is the present title of what had been the
Seminary of Learning. After the war was over, Boyd went back to
Alexandria, reorganized the old institution, which I visited in
1866 but the building was burnt down by an accident or by an
incendiary about 1868, and the institution was then removed to
Baton Rouge, where it now is, under its new title of the University
of Louisiana.

We reached New Orleans on the 2d of March. I found General Banks,
with his wife and daughter, living in a good house, and he
explained to me fully the position and strength of his troops, and
his plans of action for the approaching campaign. I dined with
him, and, rough as I was--just out of the woods--attended, that
night, a very pleasant party at the house of a lady, whose name I
cannot recall, but who is now the wife of Captain Arnold, Fifth
United States Artillery. At this party were also Mr. and Mrs.
Frank Howe. I found New Orleans much changed since I had been
familiar with it in 1853 and in 1860-'61. It was full of officers
and soldiers. Among the former were General T. W. Sherman, who had
lost a leg at Port Hudson, and General Charles P: Stone, whom I
knew so well in California, and who is now in the Egyptian service
as chief of staff. The bulk of General Banks's army was about
Opelousas, under command of General Franklin, ready to move on
Alexandria. General Banks seemed to be all ready, but intended to
delay his departure a few days to assist in the inauguration of a
civil government for Louisiana, under Governor Hahn. In Lafayette
Square I saw the arrangements of scaffolding for the fireworks and
benches for the audience. General Banks urged me to remain over
the 4th of March, to participate in the ceremonies, which he
explained would include the performance of the "Anvil Chorus" by
all the bands of his army, and during the performance the
church-bells were to be rung, and cannons were to be fired by
electricity. I regarded all such ceremonies as out of place at a
time when it seemed to me every hour and every minute were due to
the war. General Banks's movement, however, contemplated my
sending a force of ten thousand men in boats up Red River from
Vicksburg, and that a junction should occur at Alexandria by March
17th. I therefore had no time to wait for the grand pageant of the
4th of March, but took my departure from New Orleans in the Diana
the evening of March 3d.

On the next day, March 4th, I wrote to General Banks a letter,
which was extremely minute in conveying to him how far I felt
authorized to go under my orders from General Grant. At that time
General Grant commanded the Military Division of the Mississippi,
embracing my own Department of the Tennessee and that of General
Steele in Arkansas, but not that of General Banks in Louisiana.
General Banks was acting on his own powers, or under the
instructions of General Halleck in Washington, and our, assistance
to him was designed as a loan of ten thousand men for a period of
thirty days. The instructions of March 6th to General A. J. Smith,
who commanded this detachment, were full and explicit on this
point. The Diana reached Vicksburg on the 6th, where I found that
the expeditionary army had come in from Canton. One division of
five thousand men was made up out of Hurlbut's command, and placed
under Brigadier-General T. Kilby Smith; and a similar division was
made out of McPherson's and Hurlbut's troops, and placed under
Brigadier-General Joseph A. Mower; the whole commanded by
Brigadier-General A. J. Smith. General Hurlbut, with the rest of
his command, returned to Memphis, and General McPherson remained at
Vicksburg. General A. J. Smith's command was in due season
embarked, and proceeded to Red River, which it ascended, convoyed
by Admiral Porter's fleet. General Mower's division was landed
near the outlet of the Atchafalaya, marched up by land and captured
the fort below Alexandria known as Fort De Russy, and the whole
fleet then proceeded up to Alexandria, reaching it on the day
appointed, viz., March 17th, where it waited for the arrival of
General Banks, who, however, did not come till some days after.
These two divisions participated in the whole of General Banks's
unfortunate Red River expedition, and were delayed so long up Red
River, and subsequently on the Mississippi, that they did not share
with their comrades the successes and glories of the Atlanta
campaign, for which I had designed them; and, indeed, they, did not
join our army till just in time to assist General George H. Thomas
to defeat General Hood before Nashville, on the 15th and 16th of
December, 1864.

General Grant's letter of instructions, which was brought me by
General Butterfield, who had followed me to New Orleans, enjoined
on me, after concluding with General Banks the details for his Red
River expedition, to make all necessary arrangements for
furloughing the men entitled to that privilege, and to hurry back
to the army at Huntsville, Alabama. I accordingly gave the
necessary orders to General McPherson, at Vicksburg, and continued
up the river toward Memphis. On our way we met Captain Badeau, of
General Grant's staff, bearing the following letter, of March 4th,
which I answered on the 10th, and sent the answer by General
Butterfield, who had accompanied me up from New Orleans. Copies of
both were also sent to General McPherson, at Vicksburg:



DEAR SHERMAN: The bill reviving the grade of lieutenant-general in
the army has become a law, and my name has been sent to the Senate
for the place.

I now receive orders to report at Washington immediately, in
person, which indicates either a confirmation or a likelihood of
confirmation. I start in the morning to comply with the order, but
I shall say very distinctly on my arrival there that I shall accept
no appointment which will require me to make that city my
headquarters. This, however, is not what I started out to write

While I have been eminently successful in this war, in at least
gaining the confidence of the public, no one feels more than I how
much of this success is due to the energy, skill, and the
harmonious putting forth of that energy and skill, of those whom it
has been my good fortune to have occupying subordinate positions
under me.

There are many officers to whom these remarks are applicable to a
greater or less degree, proportionate to their ability as soldiers;
but what I want is to express my thanks to you and McPherson, as
the men to whom, above all others, I feel indebted for whatever I
have had of success. How far your advice and suggestions have been
of assistance, you know. How far your execution of whatever has
been given you to do entitles you to the reward I am receiving, you
cannot know as well as I do. I feel all the gratitude this letter
would express, giving it the most flattering construction.

The word you I use in the plural, intending it for McPherson also.
I should write to him, and will some day, but, starting in the
morning, I do not know that I will find time just now. Your

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.


NEAR MEMPHIS, March 10, 1864

General GRANT.

DEAR GENERAL: I have your more than kind and characteristic letter
of the 4th, and will send a copy of it to General McPherson at

You do yourself injustice and us too much honor in assigning to us
so large a share of the merits which have led to your high
advancement. I know you approve the friendship I have ever
professed to you, and will permit me to continue as heretofore to
manifest it on all proper occasions.

You are now Washington's legitimate successor, and occupy a
position of almost dangerous elevation; but if you can continue as
heretofore to be yourself, simple, honest, and unpretending, you
will enjoy through life the respect and love of friends, and the
homage of millions of human beings who will award to you a large
share for securing to them and their descendants a government of
law and stability.

I repeat, you do General McPherson and myself too much honor. At
Belmont you manifested your traits, neither of us being near; at
Donelson also you illustrated your whole character. I was not
near, and General McPherson in too subordinate a capacity to
influence you.

Until you had won Donelson, I confess I was almost cowed by the
terrible array of anarchical elements that presented themselves at
every point; but that victory admitted the ray of light which I
have followed ever since.

I believe you are as brave, patriotic, and just, as the great
prototype Washington; as unselfish, kind-hearted, and honest, as a
man should be; but the chief characteristic in your nature is the
simple faith in success you have always manifested, which I can
liken to nothing else than the faith a Christian has in his

This faith gave you victory at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Also, when
you have completed your best preparations, you go into battle
without hesitation, as at Chattanooga--no doubts, no reserve; and I
tell you that it was this that made us act with confidence. I knew
wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight
place you would come--if alive.

My only points of doubt were as to your knowledge of grand
strategy, and of books of science and history; but I confess your
common-sense seems to have supplied all this.

Now as to the future. Do not stay in Washington. Halleck is
better qualified than you are to stand the buffets of intrigue and
policy. Come out West; take to yourself the whole Mississippi
Valley; let us make it dead-sure, and I tell you the Atlantic slope
and Pacific shores will follow its destiny as sure as the limbs of
a tree live or die with the main trunk! We have done much; still
much remains to be done. Time and time's influences are all with
us; we could almost afford to sit still and let these influences
work. Even in the seceded States your word now would go further
than a President's proclamation, or an act of Congress.

For God's sake and for your country's sake, come out of Washington!
I foretold to General Halleck, before he left Corinth, the
inevitable result to him, and I now exhort you to come out West.
Here lies the seat of the coming empire; and from the West, when
our task is done, we will make short work of Charleston and
Richmond, and the impoverished coast of the Atlantic. Your sincere


We reached Memphis on the 13th, where I remained some days, but on
the 14th of March received from General Grant a dispatch to hurry
to Nashville in person by the 17th, if possible. Disposing of all
matters then pending, I took a steamboat to Cairo, the cars thence
to Louisville and Nashville, reaching that place on the 17th of
March, 1864.

I found General Grant there. He had been to Washington and back,
and was ordered to return East to command all the armies of the
United States, and personally the Army of the Potomac. I was to
succeed him in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi,
embracing the Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and
Arkansas. General Grant was of course very busy in winding up all
matters of business, in transferring his command to me, and in
preparing for what was manifest would be the great and closing
campaign of our civil war. Mrs. Grant and some of their children
were with him, and occupied a large house in Nashville, which was
used as an office, dwelling, and every thing combined.

On the 18th of March I had issued orders assuming command of the
Military Division of the Mississippi, and was seated in the office,
when the general came in and said they were about to present him a
sword, inviting me to come and see the ceremony. I went back into
what was the dining-room of the house; on the table lay a rose-wood
box, containing a sword, sash, spurs, etc., and round about the
table were grouped Mrs. Grant, Nelly, and one or two of the boys.
I was introduced to a large, corpulent gentleman, as the mayor, and
another citizen, who had come down from Galena to make this
presentation of a sword to their fellow-townsman. I think that
Rawlins, Bowers, Badeau, and one or more of General Grant's
personal staff, were present. The mayor rose and in the most
dignified way read a finished speech to General Grant, who stood,
as usual, very awkwardly; and the mayor closed his speech by
handing him the resolutions of the City Council engrossed on
parchment, with a broad ribbon and large seal attached. After the
mayor had fulfilled his office so well, General Grant said: "Mr.
Mayor, as I knew that this ceremony was to occur, and as I am not
used to speaking, I have written something in reply." He then
began to fumble in his pockets, first his breast-coat pocket, then
his pants, vest; etc., and after considerable delay he pulled out a
crumpled piece of common yellow cartridge-paper, which he handed to
the mayor. His whole manner was awkward in the extreme, yet
perfectly characteristic, and in strong contrast with the elegant
parchment and speech of the mayor. When read, however, the
substance of his answer was most excellent, short, concise, and, if
it had been delivered by word of mouth, would have been all that
the occasion required.

I could not help laughing at a scene so characteristic of the man
who then stood prominent before the country; and to whom all had
turned as the only one qualified to guide the nation in a war that
had become painfully critical. With copies of the few letters
referred to, and which seem necessary to illustrate the
subject-matter, I close this chapter:


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

GENERAL: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 2d instant
yesterday at New Orleans, but was unable to answer, except
verbally, and I now reduce it to writing.

I will arrive at Vicksburg the 6th instant, and I expect to meet
there my command from Canton, out of which I will select two
divisions of about ten thousand men, embark them under a good
commander, and order him:

1st. To rendezvous at the mouth of Red River, and, in concert with
Admiral Porter (if he agree), to strike Harrisonburg a hard blow.

2d. To return to Red River and ascend it, aiming to reach
Alexandria on the 17th of March, to report to you.

3d. That, as this command is designed to operate by water, it will
not be encumbered with much land transportation, say two wagons to
a regiment, but with an ample supply of stores, including mortars
and heavy rifled guns, to be used against fortified places.

4th. That I have calculated, and so reported to General Grant,
that this detachment of his forces in no event is to go beyond
Shreveport, and that you will spare them the moment you can, trying
to get them back to the Mississippi River in thirty days from the
time they actually enter Red River.

The year is wearing away fast, and I would like to carry to General
Grant at Huntsville, Alabama, every man of his military division,
as early in April as possible, for I am sure we ought to move from
the base of the Tennessee River to the south before the season is
too far advanced, say as early as April 15th next.

I feel certain of your complete success, provided you make the
concentration in time, to assure which I will see in person to the
embarkation and dispatch of my quota, and I will write to General
Steele, conveying to him my personal and professional opinion that
the present opportunity is the most perfect one that will ever
offer itself to him to clean out his enemies in Arkansas.

Wishing you all honor and success, I am, with respect, your friend
and servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

VICKSBURG, March 6, 1864

Brigadier-General A. J. SMITH, commanding Expedition up Red River,
Vicksburg, Mississippi.

GENERAL: By an order this day issued, you are to command a strong,
well-appointed detachment of the Army of the Tennessee, sent to
reinforce a movement up Red River, but more especially against the
fortified position at Shreveport.

You will embark your command as soon as possible, little encumbered
with wagons or wheeled vehicles, but well supplied with fuel,
provisions, and ammunition. Take with you the twelve mortars,
with their ammunition, and all the thirty-pound Parrotts the
ordnance-officer will supply. Proceed to the mouth of Red River
and confer with Admiral Porter. Consult with him, and in all the
expedition rely on him implicitly, as he is the approved friend of
the Army of the Tennessee, and has been associated with us from the
beginning. I have undertaken with General Banks that you will be at
Alexandria, Louisiana, on or before the 17th day of March; and you
will, if time allows, cooperate with the navy in destroying
Harrisonburg, up Black River; but as I passed Red River yesterday I
saw Admiral Porter, and he told me he had already sent an expedition
to Harrisonburg, so that I suppose that part of the plan will be
accomplished before you reach Red River; but, in any event, be
careful to reach Alexandria about the 17th of March.

General Banks will start by land from Franklin, in the Teche
country, either the 6th or 7th, and will march via Opelousas to
Alexandria. You will meet him there, report to him, and act under
his orders. My understanding with him is that his forces will move
by land, via Natchitoches, to Shreveport, while the gunboat-fleet
is to ascend the river with your transports in company. Red River
is very low for the season, and I doubt if any of the boats can
pass the falls or rapids at Alexandria. What General Banks
proposes to do in that event I do not know; but my own judgment is
that Shreveport ought not to be attacked until the gunboats can
reach it. Not that a force marching by land cannot do it alone,
but it would be bad economy in war to invest the place with an army
so far from heavy guns, mortars, ammunition, and provisions, which
can alone reach Shreveport by water. Still, I do not know about
General Banks's plans in that event; and whatever they may be, your
duty will be to conform, in the most hearty manner.

My understanding with General Banks is that he will not need the
cooperation of your force beyond thirty days from the date you
reach Red River. As soon as he has taken Shreveport, or as soon as
be can spare you, return to Vicksburg with all dispatch, gather up
your detachments, wagons, tents, transportation, and all property
pertaining to so much of the command as belongs to the Sixteenth
Army Corps, and conduct it to Memphis, where orders will await you.
My present belief is your division, entire, will be needed with the
Army of the Tennessee, about Huntsville or Bridgeport. Still, I
will leave orders with General, Hurlbut, at Memphis, for you on
your return.

I believe if water will enable the gunboats to cross the rapids at
Alexandria, you will be able to make a quick, strong, and effective
blow at our enemy in the West, thus widening the belt of our
territory, and making the breach between the Confederate Government
and its outlying trans-Mississippi Department more perfect.

It is understood that General Steele makes a simultaneous move from
Little Rock, on Shreveport or Natchitoches, with a force of about
ten thousand men. Banks will have seventeen thousand, and you ten
thousand. If these can act concentrically and simultaneously, you
will make short work of it, and then General Banks will have enough
force to hold as much of the Red River country as he deems wise,
leaving you to bring to General Grant's main army the seven
thousand five hundred men of the Sixteenth Corps now with you.
Having faith in your sound judgment and experience, I confide this
important and delicate command to you, with certainty that you will
harmonize perfectly with Admiral Porter and General Banks, with
whom you are to act, and thereby insure success.

I am, with respect, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

MEMPHIS, March 14, 1864

Major General McPHERSON, commanding, etc, Vicksburg, Mississippi

DEAR GENERAL: I wrote you at length on the 11th, by a special
bearer of dispatches, and now make special orders to cover the
movements therein indicated. It was my purpose to await your
answer, but I am summoned by General Grant to be in Nashville on
the 17th, and it will keep me moving night and day to get there by
that date. I must rely on you, for you understand that we must
reenforce the great army at the centre (Chattanooga) as much as
possible, at the same time not risking the safety of any point on
the Mississippi which is fortified and armed with heavy guns. I
want you to push matters as rapidly as possible, and to do all you
can to put two handsome divisions of your own corps at Cairo, ready
to embark up the Tennessee River by the 20th or 30th of April at
the very furthest. I wish it could be done quicker; but the
promise of those thirty-days furloughs in the States of enlistment,
though politic, is very unmilitary. It deprives us of our ability
to calculate as to time; but do the best you can. Hurlbut can do
nothing till A. J. Smith returns from Red River. I will then order
him to occupy Grenada temporarily, and to try and get those
locomotives that we need here. I may also order him with cavalry
and infantry to march toward Tuscaloosa, at the same time that we
move from the Tennessee River about Chattanooga.

I don't know as yet the grand strategy of the next campaign, but on
arrival at Nashville I will soon catch the main points, and will
advise you of them..

Steal a furlough and run to Baltimore incog.; but get back in time
to take part in the next grand move.

Write me fully and frequently of your progress. I have ordered the
quartermaster to send down as many boats as he can get, to
facilitate your movements. Mules, wagons, etc., can come up
afterward by transient boats. I am truly your friend,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

[Special Field Order No. 28.]

MEMPHIS, March 14, 1864

1. Major-General McPherson will organize two good divisions of his
corps (Seventeenth) of about five thousand men, each embracing in
part the reenlisted veterans of his corps whose furloughs will
expire in April, which he will command in person, and will
rendezvous at Cairo, Illinois, and report by telegraph and letter
to the general commanding at department headquarters, wherever they
may be. These divisions will be provided with new arms and
accoutrements, and land transportation (wagons and mules) out of
the supplies now at Vicksburg, which will be conveyed to Cairo by
or before April 15th.

4. During the absence of General McPherson from the district of
Vicksburg, Major-General Hurlbut will exercise command over all the
troops in the Department of the Tennessee from Cairo to Natchez,
inclusive, and will receive special instructions from department

By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman:

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



Report of Brigadier-General G. W. Morgan.

January 8, 1868.

Major J. H. HAMMOND, Chief of Staff:

SIR: On the 1st instant, while pressed by many arduous duties, I
was requested to report to the commanding general the operations of
my division during the affair of the 27th, the action of the 28th,
and the battle of the 29th ult.

I had not received the report of subordinate commanders, nor had I
time to review the report I have the honor to submit.

Herewith I have the honor to forward these reports, connected with
which I will submit a few remarks.

Brigadier-General Blair speaks of having discovered, while on his
retreat from the enemy's works, a broad and easy road running from
the left of my position to the enemy's lines. The road is neither
broad nor easy, and was advanced over by De Courcey when leading
his brigade to the charge. The road General Blair speaks of is the
one running from Lake's Landing and intersecting with the Vicksburg
road on the Chickasaw Bluffs. Its existence was known to me on the
28th ult., but it was left open intentionally by the enemy, and was
commanded by a direct and cross fire from batteries and rifle-pits.
The withdrawal of his brigade from the assault by Colonel De


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