Horace Greeley.

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

. (page 91 of 113)
Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 91 of 113)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

while it must greatiy cripple Sher-
man and fetter his fiiture operations,
even supposing it could be done at
alL To let them stay and starve
would have excited still louder and
more frenzied denunciations. The
order for the removal of the people
was therefore at once wise, provi-
dent, and humane ; yet Mayor J. M.
Calhoun and his council appealed to
Sherman in deprecation of " the woe,
the horror, the suffering" involved
in the execution of his order, as if it
had been impelled by mere caprice
or wanton cruelty, instead of being
the stem dictate of an obvious, im-
perative necessity. And this was
but one of many instances wherein
the Kebels chilled the admiration
which the desperate gallantry of their
fighting was calculated to excite, by
screechy objurgati6ns, and theatrical
appeals for sympathy with their dis-
tresses, which they, who had so haugh-
tily and so needlessly rushed into
war, should have had the dignity and
self-respect to abstain from.

The removal was quietly and hu-
manely effected: all who chose to
go South (446 families, 2,035 per-
sons) being transported in wagons
at the national cost, with their furni-
ture and clothes, averaging 1,661

pounds per family, to Bough-and-
Ready, or to our outpost in that di-
rection; while those who preferred
to come North were brought at Gov-
ernment cost by railroad to Chatta-
nooga. When an was done, Major
Clan, of Hood's staff, tendered to
Col. "Warner, of Sherman's staff, his
written acknowledgment** of "the
uniform courtesy you have shown on
all occasions to me and my people,
and the promptness with which you
have corrected all irr^ulaiities
arising in our intercourse.'' This
was the simple truth. The removal
was not only right in itself, but was
effected with considerate tenderness.

While Sherman was still north of
the Chattahoochee, a Bebel raiding
force of cavalry, under Pillow, had
dashed into Lafayette, n^trly up to
Chattanooga, held by CoL Watkins
with 400 men, and had very nearly
taken it; when CoL Croxton, 4th
Kentucky, came up and beat them
off ; taking 70 prisoners. The killed
and wounded on either side were
about 100.

Wheeler, afber breaking the rail-
road at Calhoun, as already narrated,
appeared before Dalton, which he
summoned ; but Col. Leibold held it
firmly tifl (Jen. Steedman arrived
from Chattanoc^ and drove the
Rebels off. Wheeler now pushed up
into East Tennessee, halting at Ath-
ens ; whence, on being menaced, he
dashed eastward across the Little
Tennessee, and thence across the
Holston at Strawberry plains; and
so, circling around Kiioxville, he
crossed the Clinch near CSinton, and
the Oumberiand mountains, by Se-
quatchie, MclCnnvflle, Murfreesbo-

' Sept aL

Digitized by




Tough^ and Lebanon, whence he was
chased southward across the Tennes-
see near Mcnrence into Alabama. He
destroyed much property during this
extensive raid; bat his operations
had little inflaence on the results of
the campaign.

Hardee, moving to his right, form-
ed a junction with Hood near Jones-
boro', and their army was soon con-
siderably reenforced : Jefferson Davis
liastening from Bichmond to Geor-
gia, visiting the army at Paknetto,
and making at Macon ^^ a speech re-
markable for the frankness of its ad-
xnifisions that the loss of Atlanta was
a great blow, and that the prospects
of the Confederates were gloomy ; yet
which was said to have aroused many
to a more desperate activity in the
cause. Hood was still retained in
command; and very soon, flanking
Sherman's right, he crossed the Chat-
tahoochee, pushed up to Dallas, and
thence impelled his cavalry rapidly
by the right to Big Shanty, where
they tore up the railroad and broke
the telegraph; while French's divi-
sion of infantry appeared** before Al-
latoona, where one million rations
were stored, under protection of CoL
Tourtelotte, 4th Minnesota, with
three thin regiments. Happily, Gen.
Oorse, holdi^ Bome, had been or-
dered hither with his brigade, and
had arrived with two r^ments a
few hours before.

Sherman had ere this been aroused
by news that the Bebels had crossed
the Chattahoochee ; and he had sent^
Gen. Thomas to Nashville to look
out for Bebel demonstrations across
the Tennessee. Leaving Slocum's
20th corps to hold Atlanta, he had

impelled the bulk of his army north-
ward; and, when French attacked
Allatoona, he was near Kenesaw, 18
miles distant ; whence, at 10 A..U., he
could see the smoke of the conflict
and faintly hear the sound of the
guns. He was even able to signal
Corse that he was not to be aban-^

Corse had 1,944 men ; French
many times that number. The place
was completely invested at daylight,
and a sharp cannonade of two hours
was followed by a summons, which
being declined, French assaulted in
full force, rushing his men up to the
very parapets, where they were
mowed down by hundreds ; yet still
assault after assault was deUvered;
while the 28d corps, under Gen.
J. D. Cox, were making all haste to
come to the rescue, and flags convey-
ing from peak to peak the messages
interchanged by Sherman and Corse.
Sherman, on learning that Corse was
there, exclaimed, " He will hold out \
I know the man 1" And he did hold
out ; though 707 (more than a third)
of his men had fallen, when the
enemy desisted. Corse himself had
been struck in the face at noon by a
bullet, but reftised to leave his post ;
^Tourtelotte and Col. E. Eowell, 7th
Illinois, were also among the wound-
ed. French drew off, as Cox ap-
proached, leaving 231 dead, 411 pri-
soners, and 800 of his muskets be-
hind, to attest the severity of the

Hood, instructed to draw Sherma»
out of Georgia, moved rapidly north-
west, threatening again to strike the
railroad, and compelling Sherman to
make a forced march of 88 miles to
Save Kingston.** Here he learned

■ Sept. 23.


' Sept 28.

♦• Oct. 8-10.

Digitized by




that Hood, after making a feint on
Borne, had moved 11 miles down the
Coosa and was passing that river on
a pontoon-bridge : Sherman followed
to Eome," and dispatched thence
Gen. Cox's division and Garrard's
cavalry across the Oostenaula to har-
ass the right flank of the enemy, as he
moved northward. Garrard chased
a brigade of Rebel cavalry toward
the Chattooga, capturing 2 gnns.

Hood, moving rapidly, had by this
time appeared before Resaca, sum-
moning it; but Sherman had reen-
forced it with two regiments, and
Col. Weaver had held it firmly, re-
pulsing the enemy ; who had moved
up the railroad through Tilton and
Dalton, destroying it so far as the
Tunnel. Sherman, on reaching Re-
saca," was evidently puzzled to di-
vine what his adversary meant in
thus employing the second army of
the Confederacy on a raiding expe-
dition, but resolved to strike him in
flank and force him to fight a battle.
Accordingly, Howard was impelled
westward to Snake creek gap, where
he was to skirmish and hold the ene-
my, while Stanley, with the 4th and
14th corps, moved from Tilton on
Villanow, with intent to gain Hood's

But Hood had other plans; so
Howard encountered no solid resist-
ance at the gap, but had pressed
through it by noon, before Stanley
had time to gain its rear. Our army
was then directed on Lafayette, ex-
.pecting thus to get into the enemy's
rear ; but Hood had evidently been
cured of his voracious appetite for
fighting, and, having very scanty
trains, was far too light-footed to be
caught. He nimbly evaded Sher-

man, slipping around his front, and,
moving by his left, was soon out of
reach ; Sherman halting" in the vi-
cinity of Gaylesville, Alabama, and
feeling in various directions for hig
vanished foe.

After the lapse of a week, he was
satisfied that his adversary, as if in-
tent on drawing him out of Georgia
af all events, had crossed Sand moun-
tain, and was making for the Ten-
nessee. Sherman reftised to foUow
an enemy who would not fight, whom
he could not overtake, and who
might be able to lead him a profitlefls
wild-goose-chase for months. He de-
tached Stanley, with his (4th) corpa^
and Schofield, with the 23d, with
orders to march to Chattano^a, and
thence report to Thomas at Nash-
ville; most of the cavalry, under
Wilson, being given similar orders.
A single division, under Kilpatrick,
was reserved for operations in Geor-

To Thomas was confided the de-
fense of Tennessee, with unlimited
discretion as to the use of his re-
sources. A. J. Smith, then on his way
from hunting Price out of Missouri,
was ordered to report to him. Sher^
man had of course a ftiU understand-
ing with him, as well as with Grant,
as to his plans. Hood's army, he ad-
vised them, now consisted of about
35,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry;
and he did not turn his back again
on Tennessee until assured that
Thomas was strong enough to hold
it. And now, learning that Hood,
after a feint on Decatur, had passed
on to Tuscumbia and laid a pontoon-
bridge across the river to Florence,
Sherman turned his face southward,
and, gathering up all his garrisonfl


♦•Oct 14.

« Oot 19.

Digitized by




heading the railroad, Bending some
back to Chattanooga to aid in the
defense of Tennessee, and drawing
others forward to Atlanta, he thor-
oughly dismantled the railroads,
bum^ the fonnderies, mills, &c., at
Borne, and, catting loose fix>m all his

communications, and drawing around
him all his remaining forces, made
diligent preparations for the Great
March wherewith his name is so in-
separably linked, and which so large-
ly contributed to hasten the down&U
of the Bebellion.



The formation of the Southern
Confederacy was quickly followed by
the resignation of a large proportion
— though not nearly all — of the
Southern officers of the United States
Navy — ^resignations which should not
have been, but were, accepted. Ma-
ny of these officers had, for fifteen to
forty years, been drawing liberal pay
and allowances from the Federal
treasury for very light work— often,
for no work at all : and now, when
the Government which had edu-
cated, nurtured, honored, and sub-
sisted them, was for the first time in
urgent need of their best efforts, they
renounced its service, its flag, and
their fealty, in order to tender their
swords to its deadly foe. Under such
circumstances, no resignation should
have been accepted, but their names
should have been stricken with igno-
miny from the rolls they disgraced.

These recreants made haste to re-
pair to the Confederate capital, where
they were received with flattering
distinction, and accorded rank in the
embryo Confederate navy at least as
high as that which they had resjpect-
ively attained in the service of the
United States. The ^'Register of the
VOL. n. — il

Commissioned and Warrant OfficerB
in the Navy of the Confederate
States," issued at Bichmond, Jan.
1, 1864, contained several hundred
names — over two hundred of them be-
ing noted as having formerly been offi-
cers of the U. S. Navy. Some of these
lacked even the poor excuse — " I go
with my State,'' — as at the head of
the list stands their only Admiral,
Franklin Buchanan, of Maryland;
who entered the service o£ the United
States Jan. 28th, 1815, and that of
the Confederacy Sept 5th, 1861. Of
the Captains (twelve) who follow,
three were bom in Majryland, though
one of them (Gteo. N. Hollins) daimi
to be a citizen of Florida ; as did ai^
other (Raphael Semmes) of Alabjanflu
Of the Udrty-six Provisional Oiqp-
tains and Commanders, twelve were
bom in non-6eeeding States, though
most of them claimed to have sinoe
become residents of the ^ sunny

Tery great ingenuity and nautical
(or pyrotechnic) $kill wag evinced
during the war, by the Eebel navy
thus constituted, in the constroctioa
of rams and iron-dads, and thdr vm
for harbor and coast defense, but

Digitized by




more especiallj in devising, con-
Btmctiug, chargiag, and planting tor-
pedoee, wherewith they did more
execution and cansed more embarrass-
ment to blockaders and besieging
squadrons than had been effected in
any former war. Their devices for
obstructing the mouths or channels
of rivers and harbors were often
unsurpassed in efficiency. On the^
ocean, however, they were hampered
by the fact that the Southrons are
neither a ship-building nor a sea-fiur-
ing people ; that, while they had long
afforded the material for a large and
lucrative commerce, they had neither
built, nor ovmed, nor manned, many
vessds. They would, therefore, have
been able to make no figure at all
out of sight of their own coast, but
for the facilities afforded them by
British sympathy and British love of
gain, evading the spirit if not the
strict letter of international maritime
law. Great ship-building firms in
Liverpool and Glasgow, wherein
members of Parliament were largely
interested, were almost constantly
engaged in the construction of strong,
swift stean^ships, calculated for cor-
sairs and for nothing else; each
being, when completed, in spite of in-
formation firom our consuls and pro-
tests from our Minister, allowed to
slip out of port under one pretext or
another, and make for some preai>
ranged rendezvous, where a merchant
vessel laden with Armstrong, Whit-
worth, Blakely, and other heavy ri-
fled guns of the most approved pat-
terns, with small arms, ammunition,
provisions, &o,y was awaiting her;
and, her cargo being quickly trans-
ferred to the embryo corsair, a crew
was made up, in part of men clan-
destinely enlisted for the service, in

part of such as liberal pay , more lib-
eral promises, and the csjci&rj of
officers, could induce to trander their
services to the new flag; and thus the
unarmed, harmless British steamehip
of yesterday was transformed into
the Confederate cruiser of to-day:
every stick of her British, from keel
up to mast-head ; her rigging, anna-
ment, and stores, British ; her crew
mostly British, though a few of her
higher officers were not; and,thQB
planned expressly to outran any
heavily armed vessel and ovjerpower
any other, she hoisted the Ckni&de-
rate flag and commenced capturing,
plundering, burning, and sinking oor
merchant vessels wherever she ooidd
fall upon them unprotected by our
navy: every British port, on what-
ever sea, affording her not only Bbd-
ter and hospitality, but the fnllert
and freshest information with regard
to her predestined prey and the qnar-
ter wherein it could be clutched with
least peril. Shielded from the treat-
ment of an ordinary pirate, by the
Queen's proclamation of neutrality,
and from effective pursuit by the mar-
itime law which forbids the stronger
beUigerent to leave a neutral harbor
within twenty-four hours after the
weaker shall have taken his depar-
ture, though the latter may have
dodged in just out of range of the
former, afl;er a keen chase of many
hours — one of these corsairs was able
to do enormous damage to our com-
merce with almost perfect imponity;
for, by the time her devastations is
one sea had been repoij^d to our
nearest naval commander, she wonla
be a thousand miles away (but in
what direction none could go^h
lighting up another coast or strait
with the glare of her conflagraticHiS'

Digitized by




If it be gravely held that Great Bri-
tain was nowise responsible for the
ravages of these marauders, then it
must be confessed that the letter of
existing intemationaJ law does no
justice to its spirit and purpose, but
stands in need of prompt and thor-
ough revision.

The career of the Sumter, Capt
Eaphael Semmes, came to an early
and inglorious end, as has already
been narrated/ But another and su-
perior cruiser was promptly con-
structed at Birkenhead to replace
her; which our Embassador, Hon.
Charles F. Adams, tried earnestly,
but in vain, to have seized and de-
tained at the outset by the Brit-
ish Government. Escaping from
Liverpool under the name of Oreto^
she was twice seized at Nassau, but
to no purpose : that island being the
focus of blockade-running, and, of
course, violently sympathetic with the
Hebellion — as was, in fact, nearly
every officer in the British naval or
military service. Released from du-
ress, she put to sea, and soon appeared
as a British ship of war off the har-
bor of Mobile, then blockaded by
Com'r Geo. H. Preble, who hesitated
to fire on her lest she should be what
she seemed; and in a few mmutes
she had passed him, and run up to
Mobile, showing herself the Bebel
corsair she actually was. Preble was
promptly dismissed from the service
— ^an act of justice which needed but
a few repetitions to have, prevented
such mistakes in future. Running
out* again under cover of darkness,
the Oreto, now commanded by John
N. Maffitt,' became the Florida, there-

after vicing with her consort, the
Alabama — a new British vessel hence-
forth commanded by Semmes — and
with other such from time to time
fitted out, in their predatory career.
Each of these habitually approached
her intended prey under her proper
(British) colors, but hoisted the Con-
federate so soon as the prize was se-
curely within her grasp. Occasion-
ally, a vessel of little value was re-
leased on condition of taking to port
the crews of several of the most
recently burned ; a few were bonded,
mainly because they carried British
cargoes or were insured in British
offices ; but the great majority were
simply robbed of their money, food,
Ac, and burnt. Among those bond-
ed by the Alabama was the steam-
ship Ariel,* on her way from New
York to Aspinwall, with the Califor-
nia passengers and freight ; but the
$250,000 which was to have been her
ransom, being expressly " payable six
months after the recognition [by the
United States] of the independence
of the Southern Confederacy,'' has
not yet fallen due. Such was the
just alarm caused by this capture,
while several National vessels were
anxiously looking for the Alabama,
that the Ariel dared not bring the
specie from California that met her
at Aspinwall, but left it there, imtil
a gunboat was sent for it by the
Government; and the specie con-
tinued to be so transmitted for some
months thereafter.

The merchant ships captured and
destroyed by these freebooters were
hundreds in number, and the value
of vessels and cargoes amounted to
many scores of millions of dollars.

" Vol. I., pp. 602-3. «Dea 2"?, 1862.

*0f Texas: son of a once noted Methodist

clergyman of like name, who was Irish by birth,
and n noted pnlpit orator. ^Noy. 18, 1862.

Digitized by




But the damage thus inflicted was
not limited to this destruction — ^fer
from it. The paralysis of commerce
— the transfer (at a sacrifice) of hun-
dreds of valuable ships to British
owners (real or simulated) in order
that they might be allowed to keep
the seas with impunity — ^with the
waste of money and service involved
in sending many costly and Ibnmda-
Ue steamships to every ocean and
almost every port in quest of some
corsair^ which was plundering and
burning, perhaps on one side of a
petty island, while the YanderbiH or
Tuscarora was vainly seeking it on
the other — which was sure to be
wywhere but where it was awaited
or sought — and which would drop
ii^ito the neutral harbor whither its
pursuer had repaired for coal, or
food, or information, and lie there by
his side, beardiiig him with impunity;
taking its own time to depart in
peace and safety, because no pursuit
was allowed for the next 24 hours —
such are the bare outlines of a system
of maritime injury and annoyance
which for years sickened the hearts
of stanch upholders of the Union.
That the officers of the Alabama,
Florida, Oeorgia, and their confreres,
were greeted in every British port
with shouts and acclamations, recep-
tions and dinners, as though tiiey
had been avowed Britons engaged in
honorable war&re with their coun-
try's deadly foe, was observed by
loyal Americans with a stinging con-
sciousness of the hoUowness and
fraud of British neutrality which will
not soon be effaced. And, when
every remonstarance made by our
Government or its representative
against the favor shown to these pri-

vateers, not only in tiieir constrac-
tion, but throughout their subsequent
career, was treated as though we had
asked Great Britain to aid us against
the Confederates, when we had only
required that she cease to aid unwar-
rantably our domestic foes, the popu-
lar sense of dishonesty and wrong
was with difficulty restrained from
expressing i^lf in deeds rather than


Early ia May, 1863, the Florida,
while do^gij^g our gunboats among
the innumerable straits and passages
surrounding the several West Indies,
captured the brig Clarence, which
was fitted out as a privateer and pro-
vided with a crew, under Lt. C. V.
E^, late a mid^pman in oar na-
vy. This new buccaneer immediate-
ly steered northward, and, sweeping
up our southern coast, captured some
valuable prizes; among them, when
near Cape Henry, the bark Tacony,*
to which Bead transferred his men,
and stood <m up the coast ; passing
alcHQg off the mouths of the Cheea-
peake, Delaware, New York, and
Massachusetts bays, seizing and de-
stroying merchant and fishing ves-
sels utterly unsui^icious of danger;
until, at length, learning that swift
cruisers w^e on his track, he burned
the Tacony (in which he would have
been easily recognized), and in the
prize schooner Arch^, to whidi he
had transferred his armament and
crew, stood boldly in for the harbor
of Portland; casting andiior at son-
set* at its entrance, and sending at
midnight two fiined bo^B with muf-
fled oars up nearly to the city, to
seize the steam revenue cutter Cudi-
ing and bring her out for his future
use. This was done ; but, no sooner

* June 12, 1863.

'June 24.

Digitized by




liad the Gushing left, tinder her new
masters, than she was missed, and
two merchant steamers were armed
and manned (by volunteers) and start-
ed after her. She was soon over-
hauled, and, having no ffuns to cope
with her armament, me pursuers
were about to board, when her ciq^
tors took to their boats, firing half-a-
dozen shots at her and blowing her
up. The Portland boys kept on till
they captured first the boats, then
the Archer, towed them up to their
city in triumph, and lodged Read and
his fireebooters snugly in prison.

The merchant steamer Chesapeake,
plying betwcCTi New York and Port-
land, was seized* by 16 of her pas-
sengers, who, suddenly producing
arms, proclaimed themselves Con-
federates, and demanded her surren-
der ; seizing the captain and putting
him in irons, wounding the mate,
and killing and throwing overboard
one of the engineers. After a time,
they set the crew and passengers
ashore in a boat, and, putting the
steamer on an easterly course, ran
her into Sambro harbor, Nova Scotia,
where she was seized* by the Union
gunboat Ella and Anna, taken, with
a portion of her crew, to Halifax, and
handed over to the civil authorities.
The prisoners were here rescued by a
mob; but the steamboat was soon,
by a judicial decision, restored to her

During 1864, in addition to those
already at work, three new British-
Confederate corsairs, named the Tal-
lahassee, Olustee, and Chickamauga,
were set afloat; adding immensely
to the ravages of their elder brethren.
Up to the beginning of this year, it
was computed that our direct losses

by Rebel captures were 193 ves*
sels; valued, with their cargoes, at
$13,455,000. AU but 17 of these
vessels were burned. But now the
Tallahassee, in August, swept along
the Atlantic coast of the loyal States,
destroying in ten days .83 vessels;
while the Chickamauga, in a short
cruise, humed vessels valued in all at
$500,000. The Florida likewise dart-
ed along our coast, doing great dam-
age there and tiiereaft^ ; finally
running into the Brazilian port of
Bahia;* having just captured and
burnt the bark Mondamon off that
port. Here she met the U. S. steamer
Wachusett, Capt. Collins, and came
to anchor, as a precaution, in the
midst of the Brazilian fleet and di-

Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 91 of 113)