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John K. Duke.

History of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Together with more than thirty personal sketches of officers and men online

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Online LibraryJohn K. DukeHistory of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Together with more than thirty personal sketches of officers and men → online text (page 15 of 24)
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General Sherman sent by way of Fortress Monroe the follow-
ing telegram to President Lincoln.

Savannah, Ga.^ December 22, 1864.
To His Excellency^ President Lincoln^ Washington^ D. C.

I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah
with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition ; also about
25,000 bales of cotton. W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General."

Thus by gradual approaches and easy marches and one of
the most remarkable for the limited casualties, was another step
taken by General Sherman and his magnificent army in the
strangulation of the so-called Southern Confederacy. General
Sherman, however, said, "I consider this march as a means to an
end, and not an essential act of war." Yet, perhaps, but few
movements upon the chess board of the Civil War attracted more
attention and was the object of more solicitude and anxiety, than



53rd OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY.



171



The March to the Sea. That an army of seventy to seventy-five
thousand men could subsist 40 to 50 days off the country throuy;h
which it was passing ; destroy hundreds of miles of railroad,
millions of property, capture horses, mules and cattle 1)\ the thou-
sand ; feed and keep in good flesh the wagon mules and horses to
the aggregate of thirty to thirty five thousand, almost partook of
the nature of a miracle, and caused irreparable loss to our enemy.
Such is but a slight glance at the results accomplished by our
seaward trip.

While General Sherman was engaged at a conference in the
streets of Columbia, South Carolina, a squad of ex-officers who
had escaped from the Columbia prison, approached him and
asked for some instructions, which he gave. As they started to
leave, one of them handed him a paper which he asked him at
his leisure to read. This paper proved to be the song of "Sher-
man's March to the Sea." It had been composed by Adjutant
S. H. M. Byers of the oth Iowa Infantry, while a prisoner at
Columbia. This song so favorably impressed General Sherman
that he sent for Lieutenant Byers and attached him to his staff.
Later, at Fayetteville, he sent him to Washington as a bearer of
dispatches. Some years later Captain Byers was honored with
the position of United States Consul to Zurich, vSwitzerland.



ii


II



172 HISTORICAI. SKETCH OF THE



"SHERMAN'S MARCH TO THE SEA."



" Our camp-fires shone brig^ht on the mountain

That frowned on the river below,
As we stood by our guns in the morning,

And eagerly watched for the foe ;
When a rider came out of the darkness

That hung over mountain and tree,
And shouted : ' Boys, iip and be ready !

For Sherman will march to the sea ! '

CHORUS.

" Then sang we a song of our chieftain,
That echoed over river and lea ;
And the stars of our banner shone brighter
When Sherman marched down to the sea !

" Then cheer upon cheer for bold Sherman
Went up from each valley and glen,
And the bugles re-echoed the music

That came from the lips of the men ;
For we knew that the stars in our banner

More bright in their splendor would be.
And that blessings from Northland would greet us.
When Sherman marched down to the sea !
Then sang we a song, etc.

" Then forward, boys ! forward to battle !
We marched on our wearisome way ;
We stormed the wild hills of Resaca —
God bless those who fell on that day !



5.'5rD OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY.



173



Then Kcnesaw frowned in its glory —

Frowned down on the flag of the free ;

Bnt the East and the West bore onr standard,
And Sherman marched on to the sea !
Then sang we a song, etc.

" Still onward we pressed, till onr banners
Swept ont from Atlanta's grim walls.
And the blood of the patriot dampened
The soil where the traitor-flag falls ;
Bnt we paused not to weep for the fallen,

Who slept by each river and tree.
Yet we twined them a wreath of the laurel.
As Sherman marched down to the sea !
Then sang we a song, etc.

" Oh, proud was our army that morning,

That stood where the pine darkly towers,
When Sherman said : ' Boys, you are weary,

But to-day fair Savannah is ours ! '
Then sang we a song of our chieftain.

That echoed over river and lea ;
And the stars in our banner shone brighter

When Sherman camped down by the sea ! "




174 HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE



CHAPTER XVI.



FROM SAVANNAH TO GOLDSBORO.

From December 14th, 1864, to January 30th, 18 a. m.,
but we remained in camp all day, thus allowing the 20th Corps to



184 HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE

pass by, taking- the advance. On the 7th we had reveille at 6 a.
m., but did not take up our line of inarch until 12 ni., going nine
miles and camping at 5 p. m. March 8th, the wake-up bugle was
heard at 4 a. m. and we marched out on the Laurel Hill road. We
were drenched by rain all day. The roads were very bad. We
camped at Laurel Hill at dusk, having marched thirteen miles.
March 9th, reveille at 6 a. m., and we marched at 7 o'clock to the


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Online LibraryJohn K. DukeHistory of the Fifty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, during the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865. Together with more than thirty personal sketches of officers and men → online text (page 15 of 24)