Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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so. The prompt extension of our
lines across the peninsula precluded
the possibility of success after the
first night; so 'that, when Bragg re-
iterated his order more peremptorily,
he was requested by Hoke to recon-
noiter for himself, and did so; when
his order was withdrawn. They now
resolved to reenforce the fort; but
the rapidity of Terry^s and Porter's
operations left them no opportunity
to do so. It only remained to the two
Rebel commanders to look quietly
on and see Fort Fisher taken. They
were not long compelled to endure
their necessarily painful anxiety.

Next morning** after the capture,
while the fort swarmed with our cu-
rious, exulting soldiers and sailors.



••Jan. 16.



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GEN. SCHOPIBLD OAPTUEES WILMINGTON.



715



itB chief magaziiie exploded ; killing
about 200 of our men, and wounding
perhaps 100 more. It was sunk
deeply in the earth in the center of
the parade, and well protected from
' casualty, but not from carelessness,
to which its destruction is generally
attributed.



Gen. Schofield, whom we left " at
Clifton, on the Tennessee, under
orders to embark his 23d corps
(*Army of Tennessee') for East-
port, Miss., while preparing to obey,
received " an order from Gen. Grant
to report forthwith at Annapolis,
Md. ; whither he proceeded next
day : moving by steamboats to Cin-
cinnati, thence by rail to Alexandria,
Va. ; where he was for some time
detained by the freezing of the Poto-
mac: being thence dispatched by
steamboats to the coast of North
Carolina, lancfing" near Fort Fisher.
He found here Gen. Terry, with 8,000
men, holding his original line across
the Peninsula, two miles above the
fort, but too weak to advance : the
Eebels, under Hoke, holding Fort
Anderson, across Cape Fear river,
with a line across the peninsula con-
fronting ours ; and Admiral Porter,
with his great fleet, unable to force
a passage up to Wilmington, in part
because of the shallowness of the
river. But Schofield's arrival raised
our land force to not less than 20,000 ;
and he at once pushed" forward
Terry, supported by Cox's division ;
driving in the enemy's pickets, and
intrenching dose to his line, so as to
compel him to hold it in force. He
now attempted, by the aid of navy
boats and pontoons, to throw a heavy
force to Hoke's rear by his left, or



along the beach ; but, being baffled
by a storm, with high winds and sea,
he determined to flank the enemy's
right. To this end, Cox's and
Ames's divisions were thrown across
the Cape Fear to Smith ville, where
they were joined by Moore's brigade
of Couch's division, just debarked,
and directed to envelop Fort Ander-
son. The enemy, detecting this
movement, hastily abandoned " that,
fort and his lines facing ours, leaving
to us 10 heavy guns and much am-
munition, and fell back behind Town
creek, where he had intrenched; and
where he was assailed •* next day by
Gen. Terry : Gen. Cox, crossing the
creek in a flat-boat, striking him in
flank and rear, and routing him;
capturing 375 men and 2 guns. Cox
now rebuilt the bridge which Hoke
had burned, drew over his guns, and
started next morning for Wilming-
ton ; crossing, on Rebel pontoons, the
Brunswick to Eagle island; thence
threatening to cross the Cape Fear
above the city.

Gen. Terry, still on the peninsula,
had hitherto been imable to advance
over Hoke's defenses; but Cox's
flanking menace was decisive. Hoke
retreated ; burning the steamers (in-
cluding the privateers Chickamauga
and Tallahassee), cotton, naval and
military stores, &c., in Wilmington;
and our army marched in unopposed
next morning.*^ Schofield's total loss
in taking it had been about 200 : the
enemy's was not less than 1,000, be-
side 65 guns and much ammunition.
Schofield, lacking wagons and
animals, was unable to pursue di-
rectly ; but he had already dispatch-
ed 6,000 men to Morehead city to
impel or strengthen an advance from



"Jan. 8. "Jan. U.



•Feb. 9.



•Feb. 11. ••Feb. 19. ••Feb. 20. •^ Feb, 22,



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716



THE AMBRIOAN CONFLICT.



Newbem on GoldsboroTigli. Conch's
and Cox's divisions wore now ordered
across the country to Banston; bnt
the lack of wagons delayed their
movement till March 6; when they
started under Couch, while Schofield
went by sea to Morehead city, and
thence by rail to Newbem ; whence
he reached, on the 8th, Cox's position
at Wise's forks, near South-west
creek, on his way to Goldsboro'. Cox
had sent up two regimoits under
CoL Upham, 15th Conn., to seize and
hold the crossing of the creek ; but
Hoke, who had ere this been re-
enforced by partof Cheatham's corps
from the Tennessee, had that morn-
ing flanked and surprised Upham
• there; striking him suddenly in the
rear, and capturing 700 of his men.

Elated by this stroke, Hoke ad-
vanced on Schofield ; attempting to
bore in betwixt Carter's and Palmer's
divisions, after the Virginia fashion ;
but was checked by the arrivd of
Buger's division, and desisted with-
out serious fighting or loss.



Schofield, seeing the enemy strong
and eager, directed Cox to intrench
and stand on the defensive till Couch
could arrive. Hoke skirmidied
sharply next day, and strn<^ heavily
at Cox's left and center the day
after :*• the blow falling mainly on
Buger's division, by which it was re-
pulsed with heavy loss to the assail-
ant& Schofield reports our loss here
at only 300; while he estimates the
enemy's at 1,500. Hoke retreated
across the Neuse and burned the
bridge. Couch came up and reen-
forced Schofield next mcnuing.
Lack of pontoons delayed Schofield
at the Neuse till the 14th, when-
having rebuilt tie bridge — he croBsed
and entered Kinston unopposed—
Hoke having hastened to Smithfidd
to Bid Johnston in nuking head
against Sherman. Schofield again
advanced on the SOtii, and entered
Goldsboro', scarcely resisted, next day;
barely ahead of the arrival of She^
man and his whole army, as has
already heea narrated



XXXIIL

THE EEPOSSESSION OF ALABAMA.



WILSON— CANBY.



Geh. GBAiirr's comprehensive plan
of campaign for the "Winter and
Spring of 1864-5 embraced a com-
bined demonstration from north and
south npon Alabama ; which State,
save at its northern extremity, had
thns far suffered less from tiie ravages
of war than any part of the Confede-
racy but Texas. The movement at
the south was impelled and directed



by Gfen. Canby, commanding at Kew
Orleans ; that at the north was led
by Q^n. James H. "Wilson, under the
direction of Gen. Thomas, whose
cavalry Wilson had been detadied
by Grant from the Army of the Po-
tomac and sent West expressly to
command, with results that did credit
to the Lieut.-G«neral'8 sagacity and
judgment.



"March 10.



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WILSON'S RAID THROUGH CENTRAL ALABAMA.



117



Qen. Wilson's cavalry command,
after the expulsion of Hood from Ten-
nessee, wascoUected at Eastport, Miss,
(the head of steamboat nav^ation on
the loww Tennessee) ; whither Gen.
Thomas at length proceeded/ to give
him his final instructions. It had been
intended to employ but half his force
in a raid on the chief towns of central
Alabama, deseed as a mere diver-
sion in favor of Canby ; but Wilson
persuaded his chief to let him take aU
the cavalry he could readily muster
— Cheathajn's movement eastward,
with the remains of Hood's force,
having rendered disposable nearly
our entire force on the Tennessee.
Wilson was thus enabled to set out
with nearly 15,000 men, whereof
18,000 were mounted, with six batr
teries. Prevented from starting at
the time designated " by incessant
rains and tremendous floods, the ex-
pedition was not fairly over the Ten-
nessee till March 18; when it set
forth with light trains, careftdly filled
— each trooper taking 5 days' rations
in his haversack, 24 lbs. of grain,
and a pair of extra shoes for his
horse, with 100 rounds of ammuni-
tion ; while 5 days' rations of hard
bread, 10 of sugar, coffee, and salt,
were packed on mules ; 45 days' of
coffee, 20 of sugar, 15 of salt, and 80
rounds of ammunition in the wagons
— 56 of which were laden with a light
pontoon train of 30 boats. The train
(of 250 wagons) was escorted by the
1,500 dismounted men. Most of the
cavalry were provided with the high-
ly valued Spencer carbine^ The time
idlotted for the expedition was 60
days: men and animals to subsist,
so &r as possible, on the country
they traversed. The rear of the col-



unm did not actually leave the Ten-
nessee till the 22d.

The general course pursued was
south-east, through Eussellville, Jas-
per, and Elyton ; but the command
was divided, and from time to time
expanded and contracted; passing
hurriedly over war- wasted north Ala-
bama, and then spreading out so as
to sweep over a broad stretch of the
plenteous region watered by the trib-
utaries of the Black Warrior and
other main affluents of the Tombig-
bee river: thus menacing at once
Columbus, Miss., Tuskaloosa, and Sel-
ma, Alabama.

Forrest, conmianding the chief
Bebel force left in this quarter, was
at West Point, near Columbus, Miss.;
so that Wilson, moving rapidly on
several roads, passed his right and
reached Elyton * without a collision ;
destroying by the way many exten-
sive iron-works, collieries, &c., and
pushing the few Bebel cavalry found
at Elyton rapidly across the Cahawba
at Montevallo; where the enemy was
first encountered* in force: Roddy's
and Crossland's commands coming
up the Selma road, but being routed
and driven southward by a charge of
Upton's division. The Rebels at-
tempted to make a stand at a preek,
after being driven 4 or 5 miles ; but
they were too weak, and were again
routed by a headlong charge ; losing
60 prisoners. Upton bivouacked 14
miles south of Montevallo, and early
next morning rode into Randolph;
capturing here a courier, from whose
dispatches he learned that Forrest
was now in our front; that W. H.
Jackson, with one of Forrest's divis-
ions, was moving E. S. E. from Tus-
kaloosa ; and that his rear had been



Feb. 23, 1865.



'Karoh4.



' March 30.



* March 31.



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718



THE AMERICAN CONFLICT.



struck at Trion by Gen. Cuxton, who
bad been detached by Wilson at Ely-
ton, and who had interposed between
Jackson's force and his train, and
was to be attacked by Jackson this
morning. Chalmers was at Marion,
south of Tuskaloosa ; and all were
moving, under Forrest's direction, to
concentrate upon and defend Selma.
A note from Cuxton — who had been
detailed to strike Tuskaloosa — now
apprised Wilson that he should post-
pone this enterprise, and fight Jack-
son, with intent to prevent his junc-
tion with Forrest. Wilson hereupon
directed McCook to move rapidly to
Centerville, cross the Cahawba, and
push on, via Scottsborough, to strike
Jackson. McCook found Jackson
well posted near Scottsborough, and,
hearing nothing of Cuxton, did not
venture to attack, but recoiled, after
a sharp skirmish; burning the Scotts-
boro' factory and Centerville bridge,
and rejoining Wilson near Selma.

Wilson was moving eagerly and
in force on Selma, driving small par-
ties of Rebel cavalry, when he was
brought to a halt by Forrest, strongly
posted on Boyle's creek, near Plan-
tersville, with a creek on his right
and a high, wooded ridge on his left,
with 4 guns planted to sweep the Ran-
dolph and 2 on the Maplesville road,
whereon our troopers were advan-
cing. He had in line about 6,000
men, mainly cavalry (Roddy's divi-
sion, with Armstrong's and Cross-
land's brigades), with his front cov-
ered by rail barricades and abatis.
Wilson had here Long's and Upton's
divisions — ^perhaps 6,000 in all, but
all veterans, of excellent quality, and
admirably led.

Long arrived first, on our right;



when, dismounting and forming his
men on the left of the road, he
charged, breaking the Rebel line.
Lt.-Col. Frank White, with 4 com-
panies of the 17th Lidiana (mount-
ed), being ordered forward, rode over
the Rebel guns, cutting his way out
with a loss of 17 men ; among them
Capt. Frank Taylor, killed.

Gen. Alexander, leading Upton's
division, hearing the noise of the
fight, came rapidly up on the Mi^lee-
ville road ; dismounting and deploy-
ing his brigade, and going right in
on the left;, with such energy that
the enemy were soon in headlong
flight, leaving 2 guns and 200 pris-
oners to Alexander, and 1 gun to
Long. Winslow's brigade now took
the advance, and pursued sharply to
Plantersville, 19 miles fit)m Selma;
but the ftigitives could not be over-
taken. Forrest had be®a driven 24
miles that day.

Long's division now ' took the lead,
followed by Upton's ; and all, by
4 p. iL, were in sight of Selma. For-
rest had here a motley force of per-
haps 7,000 men ; but many of them
green conscripts — boys and old men
— and not to be relied on. He was in-
disposed to attempt the defense of ex-
tensive works with such a force ; but
Dick Taylor, his superior, had been
here, and ordered him to hold the
town at all hazards — disappearing
on a southward^oing train directly
afterward. Forrest, with a doubting
heart, prepared to do his best His
works were good and strong; ex-
tending, in a semicircle of three miles,
from the Alabama above the city to
that river below it,

Wilson had here 9,000 men. After
careftilly reconnoitering, he directed



» AprU 2.



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CAPTURE OP SELMA AND MONTGOMERT.



719



Long to assault the defenses by a
diagonal movement across the road
whereon he was posted ; while Upton,
with 300 picked men, was to pene-
trate a dense, miry swamp on Long's
left, break through the Kne covered
by it, and turn the Eebel right — ^his
whole division participating in the
turning movement. But, before our
preparations had been completed,
word reached Long that Chalmers's
Rebel cavalry from Marion were at
work on his rear, where his horses
and train were under guard ; where-
upon, sending a r^ment to reen-
forcp the six companies guarding his
rear, he gave his men the order to
follow him in a charge ; and in 15
minutes, without a halt or a waver,
they had swept over the Eebel in-
trenchments, and driven their de-
fenders pell-mell toward the city.
Long himself had fallen, shot through
the head ; Cols. Miller, McCormick,
and Briggs, leading their respective
regiments, had each been severely
wounded ; but Selma was won.

The Rebels rallied on a new line,
but partially constructed, in the edge
of the city ; where they repulsed a
gallant charge of the 4th regular
cavalry ; and, as it was now dark,
they evidently hoped to hold But
the impetuosity of our men could not
be restrained. Upton's entire divi-
sion advanced, supporting a charge
of the 4th cavalry, 4th Ohio, and
17th Indiana; while the Chicago
Board of Trade battery, from a com-
manding position, replied to the
Rebel guns, dismounting two of
them ; and the city was soon taken,
with 32 guns, 2,700 prisoners, and
vast stores of all kinds. Forrest,
Roddy, Armstrong, and perhaps



3,000 of their followers, had escaped
under cover of the darkness. Our
total loss here was less than 500.
The Rebel arsenal, great guns, ware-
houses, factories, founderies, &c., were
thoroughly destroyed, and the town
sacked without mercy by our soldiers.
The Rebels had just burned 25,000
bales of cotton ; Wilson found 10,000
more, and burned ihem.

Several days elapsed before the
bridge, 870 feet long, over the swollen
Alabama, after being thrice swept
awaji by the flood, was rebuilt, and
our army crossed * — ^all but Cuxton's
brigade, which was away south, and
had had a fight with Wirt Adams
several days before. Horses had been
obtained in and around Selma to
mount our last man ; many of the
negroes following our columns had
been enlisted — ^the rest were forbid-
den to follow farther — the trains, in*
eluding the pontoon, were reduced
to their lowest dimensions ; so that
Wilson, rebuilding the bridges, now
moved rapidly, in spite of the sod-
den earth ; reaching, at 7 a. m. of
the 12th, Montgomery, the capital
of Alabama, which Wirt Adams had
just evacuated, after burning 125,000
bales of cotton. The city promptly
surrendered. Several stean#)oats,
with great quantities of army sup-
plies, were here destroyed.

Wilson moved* eastward from
Montgomery toward Columbus and
West Point, Georgia: Lagrange's
brigade soon striking a Rebel force
under Buford and Clanton, routing
it, and taking 150 prisoners. Reach-
ing' the Chattahoochee, near Colimoi-
bus, Ga., the lower bridge was found
in flames. Accident preventing the
arrival of Col. Winslow's brigade till



• AprQ 10.



'April 14.



'April 16, 2 P. M-



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730



THE AMERICAN CONFLICT.



dark, Gen. Wilson ordered an attack ;
when 300 of the 3d Iowa .cavabry
moved forward, supported by the 4th
Iowa and 10th Missouri, under a
heavy fire of grape, canister, and
musketry, pushed through strong
abatis, and pressed back the Bebel
line. Qen. Upton now sent up two
companies of the 10th Missouri to
seize one of the bridges leading into
Columbus; which, under cover of
darkness, was effected. And now
Gen. Upton charged again, sweeping
away all resistance ; and soon the city
was ours, with 1,200 jH*isoners, 52
field guns, and large quantities of
small arms and stores, at a cost to us
of barely 24 killed and wounded.
Among the Eebels killed was C. A.
L. LSunar, of Howell Cobb's staff,
former owner and captain of the
slaver Wanders. We destroyed
here the Bebel ram Jackson, mount-
ing six 7-inch guns, burned 15 loco-^ *
motives, 250 cars, 115,000 bales of
cotton, &c., &c.

Lagrange's advance reached West
Point at 10 a. m. this day, and found
the crossing of the Chattahoochee
defended by Fort Tyler, a strong,
bastioned earthwork, 35 yards square,
situated on a commanding hill, and
moulding 4 guns. At 1^ p. m., this
fort was bravely assaulted on three
sides ; but its ditch, 12 feet wide by
10 deep, stopped our men und^ a
withering fire of musketry and grape.
Lagrange, refusing to fall back,
posted sharpshooters to tranquilize
the Eebel gunners while he gathered
materials for bridges, over which his
men sprang at the sound of the bugle ;
rushing over the parapet, and cap-
turing the entire garrison — 265 men.
Gen. Tyler, its commander, with 18



of his met, had been killed, and 27
more severely wounded.

Simultaneously with this charge,
the 4th Indiana cavalry dashed head-
long through the town, secured
both bridges over the Chattahoochee,
drove out the slender Eebel force
found there, and burned 5 engines
with their l^ains. Early next morn-
ing. Gen. Minty, commanding (since
Long's fall) the division, was on his
way to Macon, as was Wilson on the
Columbus road; both columns ar-
riving on the 2l8t, aflber Wilson and
Minty had both received assurances
from Gen. Howell Cobb, command-
ing in Macon, that the war was
virtually ended.

Cuxton did not arrive till the 30th.
Outnumbered by Jackson in their en-
counter near Tricm,* he had moved
off swiftly to Johnson's ferry on the
Black Warrior, 44 miles above Tus-
kaloosa, where he crossed abd came
down the west bank ; surprising and
capturing " Tuskaloosa, with 3 guns
and 150 prisoners; destroying the
miKtwy school, public works, stores,
&c. Hearing nothing from Wilson
or McCook, he burned the bridge
over the Black Warrior, and sped
south-west nearly to Eutaw ; where
he heard that Wirt Adams, witli
2,000 cavalry, was dose upon him.
Too weak to fight such a force, Cux-
ton turned and countermarched near-
ly to Tuskaloosa ; thence by Jasper,
Mount Benson and Trionsville, to
Talladega ; near which, he scattered
a small Rebel force under a Gen.
Hill ; pushing thence by CarroUton,
Ga., Newnan, and Forsyth, to Ma-
con; having, with his small force,
moved 650 miles in 80 days, in en-
tire ignorance of the position or for-



• April 2.



• April 6.



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CANBY ADVANCES AGAINST MOBII



tunes of Wilson an<^ his lieutenants,
yet going whitiier and doing as he
^pleased; scarcely resisted at any
town he chose to take. The ^fire-
eaters' had disappeared; the Bnrri-
vors were heartily sick of War,



Gen. Canby, commanding in New
Orleans, was kept inactive throughout
the Summer and Autumn of 1864, by
the exacted return of the 16th corps
from his department, to serve on
either bank of the Mississippi above.
His remaining corps — the 13th, Gen.
Gordon Granger — ^participated, as we
have seen, in the reduction of the
forts at the mouth of Mobile bay.
During the year, Gen. Dick Taylor
crossed the Mississippi and assumed
conmiand of the Confederate forces
in Alabama. At length, after the
overthrow of Hood, in Tennessee, the
16th was returned to Gen.Canby ; who
now proceeded, in concert with Wil
son's demonstration from the north on
central Alabama, to attempt the re-
duction of Mobile and its remaining
defenses," now held, under Dick Tay-
lor, by Gen. Maury, with a force es-
timated at 15,000 men.

The forces employed by Gen. Can-
"by consisted of the 13th and 16th
corps aforesaid, with a division of
cavalry and one of colored infantry
— ^in all, from 25,000 to 30,000 men;
and he was assured of the hearty co-
operation of Porter's powerful fleet,
now commanded by Bear-Admiral
Thatcher, so far as the available depth
of water in the shallow bay of Mo-
bile would allow. Active (^rations
awaited only the arrival of the 16th
corps by water on Dauphine island;"
i^hich was the signal for a concentnt-
tion on Mobile of Canby's entire dis-



posable force. Th(
Grierson, crossed La
from New Orleans, s
bile Point, whence t
Mobile commenced
marching thence i
cours bay to strike
east, where its defei
least elaborate; whl
with a division of
polled from Pensac
and a brigade of S
transferred by watei
on the west side of
under a heavy fire c
iron-dads, and thres
on the city from thfl
Steele's advance
cavalry only, and n
on reaching Mitchel
was made" by somi
and 8th Alabama
Clanton, who were j
^ and routed — ^275 pri
Clanton, being tak<
due of the force d
encountered no fort!
he was in front of
was strongly held
where he halted ai
for supplies, which
transmitted.**

Gen. Granger's m
Seoours bay and u]
impeded by pouring
roads; so that Smi
was embarked on tr
moved up and acrosi
appointed rendez^
river, arrived first;
corps came up in t
two following days ;
vance on Mobile wa
26th. It was resist
mishers; but thero



" See page 650. « March 12, 1865.

VOL. n. — 46



"March 25.



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722



THE AMERICAN CONFLICT.



planted with torpedoes, which, unless
cautiously sought out and exploded,
^ere very (Jestructive. Quite a num-
ber of men and horses were killed by
them.

* Spanish Fort,' the strongest of the
eastern defenses of Mobile, was tdus
approached and finally invested:"
the Rebel movable column retiring
on Blakely. The 16th corps, on the
right, threatened Blakely, while the
13th, on our left, more immediately
invested Spanish Fort. Steele now
joined hands with Smith, thus form-
ing our extreme right.

Our fleet had moved up the bay
parallel with our army, making for
Howard's landing just below Spanish
Fort, with intent to aid in the reduc-
tion of that stronghold by bombard-
ment, and by isolating it from Mobile.
Notwithstanding the general shallow-
ness of the bay, they were enabled to
^approach the shore so nearly as to-
deliver a very effective fire, which
was seldom returned, and which ul-
timately cut off the fort from all
communication with the city ; but,
in effecting this, the Metacomet first,
afterward the Osage, were blown up
by torpedoes, and destroyed. Their
crews generally escaped, owing to the
shallowness of the water. The gun-
boats Stockdale, Milwaukee, Cincin-
nati^ Albatross, Winnebago, and
Gtenesee, with some smaller vessels,
remained. After firing leisurely
through the day, they usually dropped
down the bay to Great Point Clear to
anchor for the night.

The siege of Spanish Fort was
opened in due form on the 28th ; our
lines having been established during
the preceding night, at distances of
800 to 400 yards. Up to this time,



our total loss had not exceeded 400
men. The siege was pressed with
great ardor, and with considerable
loss from Rebel shells. On the morn-
ing of the 80th, Veatch's division of
Gen. Granger's corps, while relieving
guard, blundered into the Rebel lines,



Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 101 of 113)