The Life of General Robert E. Lee
G. Mercer Adam

CHAPTER XV.
THE AUTUMN OF 1864, AND THE WINTER OF 1864–5.

AS the autumn of 1864 had now come and the winter of 1864–5 approached, the situation of affairs in the Confederacy was extremely grave and full of omen. Grant, it is true, had, so far, effected little about Petersburg, and Lee and his army were still in fine fettle. But elsewhere it was going ill with the South, and premonitions of “a lost cause” were beginning to arise in the minds of friends of the Confederacy. The winter months which followed proved still more ominous of the coming end, the result, in the main, of Sherman’s achievements in the West and South, including the taking of Atlanta, the success which attended his famous “march to the sea,” his later contests with Johnston and operations in the Carolinas, added to Thomas’ triumph over Hood at Nashville, Farragut’s victory at Mobile Bay, and Porter’s capture of Fort Fisher, closing the sea to the South—a succession of disasters which boded ill for its cause, and ruin to it when Sheridan defeated Early near Charlottesville, won the battle of Five Forks, and captured the whole of Ewell’s command. All these losses “broke the back of rebellion,” while it gave joy to the North, which by this time had re-elected Lincoln and sustained his Administration, and placed increasing forces at Grant’s command against Lee and his now fast-dwindling and impoverished army at Petersburg.

Despite the depressing aspect of affairs through-out the South, the heroic Lee maintained unperturbed his serene bearing and manner, and retained even a hopeful feeling in his breast; while he infected his army with a like sense of security and hopefulness, and led it ever to manifest its wonted courage and buoyancy of spirits, with resignation to its poorly-clad and ill- fed condition. One who saw Lee at this critical era in the affairs of the South gives us this description of the great leader and his indifference to hardship and mental depression:

“His cheeks were ruddy,” writes the observer, “and his eye had that clear light which indicates the presence of the calm, self-poised will. But his hair had grown gray, like his beard and mustache, which were worn short and well-trimmed.

“His dress, as always, was a plain but serviceable gray uniform, with no indications of rank save the stars on the collar. Cavalry boots reached nearly to his knees, and he seldom wore any weapon. A broad brimmed, gray felt hat rested low upon the forehead; and the movements of this soldierly figure were as firm, measured, and imposing as ever. It was impossible to discern in General Lee any evidences of impaired strength, or any trace of the wearing hardships through which he had passed. He seemed made of iron, and would remain in the saddle all day, and then at his desk half the night, without apparently feeling any fatigue.”

Before the winter set in in its rigor, Grant once more sought to deliver a well-prepared attack on the Confederate right. That flank, which was a long one, rested mainly behind strong entrenchments at Hatcher’s Run, beyond what is locally known as the Boydton plank road, close by the South Side R.R. The attacking force, which set out about the end of October, was a formidable one, composed of the bulk of the best fighting element in Grant’s army—the 5th and 9th corps, commanded by Warren and Hancock, supported by Gregg’s cavalry. Lee met this new movement with his wonted alertness and vigor, and there was need of this, for the expeditionary force sent out by the Federal lieutenant-general was over 30,000 strong, in addition to 3,000 cavalry. Lee’s defensive and offensive reliance, as usual, was upon the commands of Generals A. P. Hill, Heth, and Mahone, and upon the knowledge possessed by the troops of the region, which was chiefly a densely wooded one, full of wild underbrush, of an entangling and obstructing character. The details of the fighting need not detain us, for the conflict was a brief one, with little room for maneuvering or display of tactics. The result was, nevertheless, disastrous to the Federals, the “rebel” position being found too formidable for hasty assault, and the expedition returned to Petersburg the same night. “In the attack,” as we learn from General Lee’s subsequent Report, “General Mahone broke three lines of battle, captured 700 prisoners, three stands of colors, and six pieces of artillery, the enemy retiring during the night, leaving his wounded and more than 250 dead on the field.” The entire loss of the day’s operations to the Federals, besides the spoil taken by “the Rebs,” was over 1760 men. After this, there were for months no further hostile expeditions set on foot by Grant; only the routine camp duties, enlivened by occasional picket and outpost firing, occupied both armies through the winter. “On the same day” (Oct. 27, 1864), as Prof. H. A. White, in his Memoir of Lee, relates, “Longstreet celebrated his return to the field by visiting a loss of more than one thousand upon Butlers brigades, who were attempting to creep through the White Oak Swamp into the Richmond defenses.”

At this time, Richmond was so uncomfortably menaced by the proximity of Grant’s army at Petersburg and his numerically strong cavalry contingent, as well as by the readiness with which Sheridan always manifested his disposition to respond to Grant’s call to lead expeditionary forays in the direction of the Southerners’ capital, that there was serious thought in the minds of the Confederate Government to retire from it, and, as Lee had suggested, to remove the machinery of administration to Danville. Besides the menace from these sources, there was soon now to be dreaded the coming of Sherman to join Grant’s Army of the James, for nothing was deemed more probable than that general, who was then undertaking his vast destroying marches in the South, would fall upon Richmond, now weak in defensive force, and visit it with the sword and the torch. That it had not been captured ere this was due mainly to Lee’s constant solicitude on its account, and to his ready, practical interposition when it was in serious jeopardy from the Federals. Evacuation, unhappily, as it afterwards turned out, came to be ultimately necessary, and an enforced measure of war at the close of the great struggle, when the Confederate capital could do no more for Lee—little really as it had ever been able to do for him who had done so much for it and the South.

Just before the affair at Hatcher’s Run, at the close of October (1864), an end had come to General Early’s raid in the Valley of the Shenandoah and the threatening of Washington, by the return to camp at Petersburg of that officer. That expedition had been sent out by Lee, not only as a legitimate reprisal foray into the enemy’s country and to bring near to the North the peril and harassments of war, in the vast game elsewhere played with such vigor and daring over great parts of the country; but also to keep at home the forces needed for the protection of the Federal capital, that would otherwise be sent on to the region of the James, to swell the already large army of Grant before Petersburg. To oppose Early’s northward expedition, Major-General Sheridan had been transferred from Grant’s army, and in August had been given command of what was known as the Middle Military Division of the United States, with a special eye upon the protection of Washington and the warding off of Confederate raids into Maryland, which had been provoked by the devastations caused by Generals Sigel and Hunter’s operations in the Virginia Valley.

Jubal Early had been off on his expedition since the beginning of July, and had created much stir in the North by his repulse of Hunter at Lynchburg and of Lew Wallace at Monocacy, as well as by his despatch of a cavalry force into Pennsylvania, which burned Chambersburg in retaliation for Federal outrages in Virginia. When Hunter had resigned his command and Sheridan was appointed, Lee supplemented Early’s force by Kershaw’s division of Longstreet’s corps and by Fitzhugh Lee’s division of cavalry, both under General Anderson, to coöperate with Early, who was then in some jeopardy at Strasburg, and in need of reenf orcements. The combined forces of Anderson and Early were united at Winchester, where they drove the Federals from the place back upon Harper’s Ferry and the Maryland Heights. Later on, Anderson, with Kershaw’s division, was ordered by Lee to Culpeper Court House; while Early, who was still at Winchester, was directed to protect the Virginia Central Railroad from attack, and to make free with the harvests, then ready for the sickle, in the Shenandoah Valley, at the same time to be within call should Lee require his return to Petersburg.

At the period (now the middle of September), Sheridan and his command, which was strong in horse, moved from his position at Berryville, south of Harper’s Ferry, and soon encountered Early at Winchester. Here, the latter had a force only of 11,000 or 12,000 men (8,500 muskets and 3,000 sabers), while Sheridan’s opposing strength was nearly three times as large. At Winchester, in spite of the great disparity in numbers, battle was given by the impetuous Early, and to his grievous loss, for 2,500 of his force was captured by Sheridan; while he and his command had to fall back, hotly pressed by Sheridan, to Fisher’s Hill, close to Strasburg. Here battle was again given, this time by the Federal leader, who once more defeated Early, with a loss of many guns and a large part of his command; while Early was now compelled to seek safety in the lower passes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sheridan not only pursued his Confederate antagonist, but sent a force forward to get on his rear and cut off his continued retreat. On the track of Early, Sheridan advanced as far as Staunton, and withdrew behind Cedar Creek, to wreck the Virginia Central railroad, and ruthlessly to ravage and lay waste the Shenandoah Valley. This he did not only by laying hands on and appropriating all animal life in the region belonging to the farmers and settlers in the Valley, but by destroying the grain and forage with which the barns were at the time filled, and burning a great number of mills, and a vast quantity of agricultural implements. This destruction of everything of value belonging to noncombatants and the desolating of the entire region were acts, surely, of a despicable and inhuman character, which one would not expect to find committed by an otherwise honored and gallant soldier. No plea of acts justified by war can or ought to pardon such an outrage; and the remembrance of the horrid deeds cannot fail to stain the memory of the man who was guilty of them, even under superior orders.

While these atrocities were being committed, Early’s command was reunited with Kershaw’s division, which partly made good the general’s losses, and emboldened him to renew the fighting at Cedar Creek, where Sheridan’s army was posted behind strong entrenchments. The Federal command, for the time being, was assumed by General Wright, owing to the temporary absence of Sheridan. Wright’s chief aides were Generals Ricketts, Emory, and Crook, who commanded, respectively, the U.S. 6th, 8th, and 19th corps; while the cavalry was under Averill, Custer, and Merritt. This was the situation on the 18th of October (1864), when General Early stole quickly over night towards the north fork of the Shenandoah, which he forced with his command, and silently moved at dawn on the 19th upon the Federal camp (Crook’s) at Cedar Creek. Here he took the enemy by surprise, captured many hundreds of them, (besides seizing eighteen heavy guns), and drove the remainder of the camp that escaped, in a panic-stricken mass, down the Valley Turnpike. “To rally the men in their bewilderment was impossible,” observes Mr. W. Swinton, in his record of the Cedar Creek fight, in his “Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac,” “and Crook’s corps, being thoroughly broken up, fled in disorder, leaving many guns in the hands of the enemy. As soon as this flank attack was developed, Early, with his other column, emerged from behind the hills west of Cedar Creek, and, crossing that stream, struck directly the troops on the right of Crook. This served to complete the disaster, and the whole Union left and center became a confused mass, against which the Confederates directed the captured artillery, while the flanking force swept forward to the main turnpike. Such was the scene on which the light of day dawned. The only force not yet involved in the enemy’s onset was the Sixth corps, which by its position was somewhat in rear. With this General Ricketts quickly executed a change of front, throwing it forward at right angles to its former position, and firmly withstood the enemy’s shock. Its chief service, however, was to cover the general retreat which Wright now ordered, as the only practicable means of reuniting his force. . . .

“At the first good position between Middletown and Newtown, Wright was able to rally and re-form the troops, form a compact line, and prepare either to resist further attack or himself assume the offensive. It was at this time, about half-past ten A.M., that General Sheridan arrived upon the field from Winchester, where he had slept the previous night. Hearing ‘(at daybreak, twenty miles away)’ the distant sounds of battle rolling up from the south, Sheridan rode post-haste to the front, where, arriving, his electric manner had on the troops a very inspiriting effect. General Wright had already brought order out of confusion, and made dispositions for attack. . . . A counter-charge was begun at three o’clock in the afternoon. . . . A large part of Early’s force, in the intoxication of success, had abandoned their colors and taken to plundering the abandoned Federal camps. The refluent wave was as resistless as the Confederate surge had been. . . . The retreat soon became a rout. . . . In the pursuit, all the captured guns were retaken, and twenty-three in addition. The captures included, besides, nearly 1,500 prisoners. . . .[”] With this defeat of Early all operations of moment in the Shenandoah ended,” and the bulk of the troops on either side were recalled to Petersburg.

The inglorious termination of the battle of Cedar Creek, by the misconduct of the men of Early’s command, was, naturally, most mortifying to that general, and drew from him, three days after the affair occurred, a sharp but now futile reprimand. In his address to his troops, General Early pointed out that all the benefits of the victory gained had been lost and a serious disaster incurred; adding that had they remained steadfast to their duty and their colors, the battle would have been “one of the most brilliant and decisive of the war.” “But,” continues the general in his address, “many of you, including some commissioned officers, yielding to a disgraceful propensity for plunder, deserted your colors to appropriate to yourselves the abandoned property of the enemy, and subsequently those who had previously remained at their posts, seeing their ranks thinned by the absence of the plunderers, when the enemy, late in the afternoon, with his shattered columns, made but a feeble effort to retrieve the fortunes of the day, yielded to a needless panic and fled the field in confusion, thereby converting a splendid victory into a disaster.”

The Shenandoah Valley having been made a waste, most of the Confederate troops were either recalled to Petersburg or transferred, as Breckenridge’s division was, to Southwestern Virginia; while Early was left at Staunton, with but the remains of Wharton’s division. In the Spring of 1865, notwithstanding his past services. Early was relieved of his command, when at Franklin Court House, Va., so continued was the outcry against him for the mishap in the Valley, and the breach of discipline he had been so conspicuously and disastrously unable to check in the men that had composed the expedition. In taking the step of relieving Early of his duties, General Lee, in the letter he sent him on the occasion, was most sympathetic and conciliatory, being careful not to wound unnecessarily the old general’s feelings; while he thanked him for the fidelity and courage shown by him in always supporting his (Lee’s) efforts, and for the devotion he had ever manifested in the service of the South.

Meanwhile, the North had been putting forth great efforts to bring the conflict with the South to a close, and that not only at Petersburg but elsewhere, which she was now well able to do, so vast were her resources of men and material. At Petersburg, the winter months had been most trying to Lee and his long-strung-out, but now greatly thinned, as well as much famished, army; while Grant’s forces were at this time well-fed and cared for, having been recruited up to 120,000 men, nearly three times the number of serviceable troops his opponent had at his command. Lee and his veterans in gray were, however, still filled with the old invincible spirit that had long animated them, in spite of their gaunt and ill-clad condition, and the now dark prospect of their lovingly espoused and warmly cherished cause. Pitiful is it to read of Lee’s appeals to Richmond at this period for the necessaries of life for his troops, for the requisites of shelter and clothing, in an inclement season, for his men, and even for forage for his horses—appeals that were indifferently heeded by the Commissary Department at the Southern capital, and as indifferently doled out. Under the circumstances, need surprise be felt at the desertions that were now prevalent in the ranks, and that conscription resulted in practically no additions to the strength of the army; while the proposition was now rife to arm the slaves, though to do so and bring them to the front would be but to add more stomachs to be filled or go empty, and, if the latter, aggravate rather than relieve the situation at Petersburg. The necessity of insisting upon Lee’s remaining where he was, for the protection of Richmond and the defense of its key-position, Petersburg, seemed cruel, while the region was so little able to feed his army, and when there was urgent need of his services in other parts of the menaced Confederacy, where he might, and doubtless would, have turned the scale in the fortune of war to greater advantage to himself and the common cause. Whoever was responsible for this course being adhered to, the blame of it does not attach to General Lee, though he loyally did what he could where he was kept; the blame rather attaches to the Confederate Administration, among whom, as we know, there was not over much harmony at its council-board and not a little want of acumen in failing to see what, broadly and at large, was for the best for Southern interests.

At this juncture of affairs in the South, when Grant had refused to allow any more exchanges of prisoners, and President Lincoln had issued his call for 300,000 additional volunteers with which to prosecute the war, the North encouraged the Hon. Francis P. Blair, of Maryland, to open negotiations for a conference with representatives of the Confederate Government, seeking to put an end to hostilities. The conference, it was understood, was to be of an informal character, and with the single view of discovering whether it was possible to influence the South to listen to overtures of peace. A meeting took place, known as the Hampton Roads Peace Conference, three Southern commissioners (Messrs. A. H. Stephens, J. A. Campbell, and R. M. T. Hunter) being permitted to pass the Federal lines early in February, 1865, and proceed to Fortress Monroe, Va., where a confab was had with Secretary of State Seward, and, later, with President Lincoln, but which ended without practical results. Though this was the case, it is worth while noting the simple and liberal conditions on which the North was prepared to make peace with her “erring sister” of the South. These were: 1, “The restoration of the national authority throughout all the States; 2, No receding by the Executive of the United States on the slavery question from the position assumed thereon in the late annual Message to Congress, and in preceding documents; and 3, No cessation of hostilities short of an end of the war and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the Government.”

With the failure of this conference and the continued stress of a forlorn situation, together with the inability of the Confederate Government and Congress to do anything to improve the outlook, or even provide for the sustenance of the army at Petersburg, Lee’s position was a clouded and hopeless one, though, at the period, as it was practically admitted by all, he was the only general left in the field in whom the South had still confidence, and to whom it might yet assuringly look to accomplish anything. Now, however, it was manifestly too late for aught to be done to save the Confederacy, even though our hero was at this juncture given the titular command of all its armies. To give Lee now the rank of lieuteuant-general, with supreme command over all the Southern armies in the field, independent of the control of President Davis, was little else than a farce, since the Richmond Government could not relieve or replace him at Petersburg; and neither did it, or could it now, increase or even feed his forces there, so that he might continue the conflict with any semblance or hope of success. Though the condition of affairs was now such—the Confederacy having become utterly shattered and incapable of further effort—Lee accepted the proffered honor, and, late as it was, he steeled his heart anew to undertake what was possible under the circumstances. The one object, at this crisis, he had in view, was, if practicable, to effect a junction with the command of his old colleague, General J. E. Johnston, who, with his Army of the Tennessee, had been opposing, though with ill-success. General Sherman in North Carolina, and whom he hoped to join as he came toward Virginia with his still considerable force.

The doings of General Johnston from the period when he was assigned to the Department of the Southwest, through the era of the Federal invasion of Georgia and the operations in the Carolinas, do not, we are aware, of course, belong to the story we are here dealmg with in connection with General Lee. But as these operations form an important part of the story of the Civil War, and are in themselves replete with interest, we have deemed it proper to give some brief record of them in these pages, so far, at least, as they are connected with the movements of Johnston, and his successor Hood, in attempting to oppose those of General Sherman, after the latter had launched his attack upon Atlanta. With the early portions of the story that preceded the Atlanta campaign we have already dealt—with that part, at least, when, after the raising of the siege of Chattanooga, and fighting the battle at Lookout Mountain, the army of Bragg was routed, and its commander was replaced by General J. E. Johnston. About the same time, Grant was given command of all the armies of the Union, and proceeded to the James River, to take charge with Meade of the operations against Lee and Beauregard at Petersburg. Some few months later (at the close of June, 1864), Johnston gave battle to Sherman and his lieutenants Thomas, Schofield, and McPherson at Kenesaw, Ga., and won the fight, inflicting a considerable loss upon the Federals. In spite of this success, Johnston retired across the Chattahoochee River and took up a position southward, at Peach Tree Creek, which he proceeded to entrench. At this period, the Confederate Government, being dissatisfied with Johnston, removed him from his command and appointed in his place General J. B. Hood, who had fought under Lee at Gettysburg and under Bragg at Chickamauga. Abandoning the defensive policy of his predecessor, Johnston, Hood fought a desperate engagement with Hooker, but was defeated with heavy loss. He then retired within the lines of Atlanta City, still fighting hard, and attacking whenever he could the veterans of Sherman’s Army of the Tennessee. The commander of the latter (McPherson) having been killed, General Howard took his place, and sought, with the assistance of Schofield and Thomas, to break through the investing lines of Atlanta, and at the same time cut the railroad in the vicinity over which Hood drew his supplies for the city’s garrison. The entrenchments of Atlanta, the Federals found, however, were too strong for them to carry, and Hood, elated at this, made several sallies upon the enemy, in one of which, occurring on the 28th of July, he met with disaster, losing over 4,600 men. About a month later, Sherman made a movement south of Atlanta to Jonesboro, held by the Confederates, but not fortified, his design being not only to capture the place, but to draw Hood from his strongly protected works at Atlanta. In this, Sherman was successful, for it enabled him, in Hood’s absence, to take and occupy Atlanta; while Hood, with his 40,000 of an army, took up temporary quarters at Love joy’s Station, on the Savannah railroad, about 30 miles southwest of the city.

Hood’s evacuation of Atlanta, though it gave his opponent possession of the city, yet enabled him sharply to harass Sherman’s long-strung-out line of communications, reaching from Atlanta back into Tennessee. To protect these, the Federal commander, still holding on to Atlanta, sent the bulk of his army north-westward; but before doing so he cleared the city of its inhabitants, sending them off rather ruthlessly, as he designed to make of Atlanta a military post exclusively, to be held by General Thomas and his command. This act naturally aroused loud and angry protests from the city’s magistrates and the populace, to which, however, Sherman was indifferent, though he offered to make exclusion from the city as little irksome to its people as was possible under the circumstances. In his mind at this period, Sherman was engrossed with his contemplated project of a “march to the sea,” so as to secure a strong base of operations in the east before setting out on his projected invasion of and lengthened expeditionary-raid northward, through Georgia and the Carolinas, back to Virginia, there to reach Grant before Petersburg and fall upon Lee’s army from the rear. The accomplishment of this design of Sherman, as that of a born raider, took captive the imagination of the North; while it was rendered comparatively easy, as well as safe, by the paralysis that had now fallen upon the South, which made the march through the region an almost wholly unopposed one. The paralysis throughout the Confederacy was increased at this period not only by the breaking up of the interior lines of travel and communication in the South, as a consequence of Federal invasion, but by the capture of Mobile by Farragut, followed by that of Fort Fisher, and by the capture or destruction of the Confederate cruisers and blockade-runners at sea, which, with the depletion of the Richmond treasury, lopped off all supplies from abroad, and put an end to hope of interposition by the neutral Powers of Europe.

In such a conjunction of events adverse to the South, with the terrible drain upon her resources of men and material occasioned by the long and devastating war, Sherman’s gay but ruthless “march to the sea,” and back through the once rich and populous States of the now exhausted Confederacy, was, as we have said, a naturally unopposed one, while it led to further prostration and despondency throughout the South. The record of the incidents in the bold expedition of Sherman to found a strong base by the Atlantic, in addition to the possession and occupation of Atlanta, need not long detain us. Leaving General Thomas, with a force of 27,000, behind to defend Atlanta and keep watch upon General Hood, Sherman set out with 70,000 men in the middle of November and reached and occupied Savannah before Christmas (1864) Thomas, meanwhile, continued at Atlanta inactive till he should be strengthened by the arrival of an expected force under General James H. Wilson, which, when received, raised his total command to 65,000; while Hood at this time had but 40,000, all told, to pit against Thomas, exclusive of a small contingent of Georgia militia. It was now Hood’s intention to move to the rear of Atlanta, and there to tear up the railway tracks between the latter city and the Chattahoochee, and afterwards to move upon
Bridgeport and destroy the great bridge which spans the Tennessee River at that point. Hood’s purpose in this was to isolate Atlanta from Chattanooga and Nashville, and thus make the place a barren conquest to Thomas, and his chief, Sherman, as a base of supply and of future operation. The details of this design of Hood are interestingly given by William Jowett Tenney, in his “Military and Naval History of the Rebellion” (New York, 1866).

“A week sufficed to complete General Hood’s arrangements,” writes Mr. Tenney, “and by the 2nd of October his army was across the Chattahoochee and on the march to Dallas, where the different corps were directed to concentrate. At this point he was enabled to threaten Rome and Kingston, as well as the fortified places on the railroad to Chattanooga; and there remained open, in case of defeat, a line of retreat southwest into Alabama. From Dallas he advanced east toward the railroad, and on the 4th captured the insignificant stations of Big Shanty and Ackworth, effecting a thorough destruction of the road between the two places. He also sent a division under General French to capture the Federal post at Allatoona Pass, where he had ascertained that a million and a half of rations for the Federal army were stored, on which he probably depended to replenish his commissariat.”

Upon learning that Hood had crossed the Chattahoochee, Sherman, resumes Mr. Tenney, “despatched General Corse with reenforcements to Rome, which place he supposed the enemy were aiming at. During the previous week he had sent General Thomas with troops to Nashville to look after Forrest. His bridges having meanwhile been carried away by a freshet which filled the Chattahoochee, he was unable to move his main body until the 4th, when three pontoons were laid down, over which the armies of the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Ohio crossed, and took up their march in the direction of Marietta, with fifteen days’ rations. The 20th corps, General Slocum, was left to garrison Atlanta.”

Rome, as it turned out, however, was not the objective point, which Hood, or rather the Confederate column of General French, was aiming at, but Allatoona; and here French appeared on the 5th of October and summoned the Federal commander (General Corse) to surrender. This was at once refused, for General Sherman, when the action began, having reached the summit of Kenesaw Mountain from there signalled his subordinate to “hold out to the last” and, that he might do so, he promised to send him succor. Thus assured, the Federal defender of the town repulsed the Confederate attack, though a vigorous cannonade wrecked much of the city and killed a large number of Federal artillery and cavalry horses, besides destroying a considerable portion of the railway in the immediate neighborhood. The Confederates finally withdrew, though not before they had lost close upon 800 men in the attack, including prisoners captured by the enemy.

After this, Hood’s command retreated in the direction of Dalton, Ga., and on the way northward continued the destruction of the railroad, and generally devastating the region. By the 14th of the month. Hood reached Dalton, but, finding Sherman close upon his heels, he withdrew to Lafayette, thence southwesterly into Alabama, in which State he halted at Gadsden, on the Coosa river, where he met reenforcements under General Beauregard, who by this time had been appointed to the chief command of the Confederate Military Division of the West. From Gadsden, the Confederate double command continued the retreat as far as Warrington, on the Tennessee River, General Sherman pursuing the Confederate columns as far as Gaylesville, where the Federal commander halted. Whatever might have been the result of Hood’s movement, Mr. Tenney concludes by affirming that “ it entirely failed to interrupt the Federal communications to a degree that would compel the evacuation of Atlanta. . . . In the light of subsequent events,” the historian-critic adds, “ it would now appear that General Sherman, making only a show of following his adversary, deliberately lured him into Northern Alabama, for the purpose of pursuing an interrupted march with his own army through the heart of Georgia. The ill-advised plan of General Hood had given him the very opportunity which he desired, and he prepared at once to avail himself of it.”

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