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29 Series I Volume XXXVIII-I Serial 72 - The Atlanta Campaign Part I

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Page 29 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

Twenty-third Corps, Major-General Schofield commanding, back to Chattanooga to report to Major-General Thomas, at Nashville, whom he had placed in command of all the troops of his military division save the four army corps and cavalry division he designed to move with through Georgia. With the troops thus left at his disposal, there was little doubt that General Thomas could hold the line of the Tennessee, or in the event Hood should force it, would be able to concentrate and beat him in battle. It was theretofore readily consented to that Sherman should start for the sea-coast. Having concentrated his troops at Atlanta by the 14th of November, he commenced his march, threatening both August and Macon. His coming out point could not be difficulty fixed. Having to gather his subsistence as he marched through the country, it was not impossible that a force inferior to his own might compel him to head for such point as he could reach, instead of such as he might prefer. The blindness of the enemy, however, in ignoring his movement, and sending Hood's army, the only considerable force he had west of Richmond and east of the Mississippi River, northward on an offensive campaign, left the whole country open and Sherman's route to his own choice. How that campaign was conducted, how little opposition was met with, the condition of the country through which the armies passed, the capture of Fort McAlister, on the Savannah River, and the occupation of Savannah on the 21st of December, are all clearly set forth in General Sherman's admirable report.*

Soon after General Sherman commenced his march from Atlanta, two expeditions, one from Baton Rouge, La., and one from Vicksburg, Miss., were started by General Canby to cut the enemy's lines of communication with Mobile and detain troops in that field. General Foster, commanding Department of the South, also sent an expedition, via Broad River, to destroy the railroad between Charleston and Savannah. The expedition from Vicksburg, under command of Bvt. Brigadier General E. D. Osband (colonel Third U. S. Colored Cavalry), captured, on the 27th of November, and destroyed the Mississippi Central Railroad bridge and trestle-work over Big Black River, near Canton, 30 miles of the road and 2 locomotives, besides large amounts of stores. The expedition from Baton Rouge was without favorable results. The expedition from the Department of the South, under the immediate command of Brigadier General John P. Hatch, consisting of about 5,000 men of all arms, including a brigade from the Navy, proceeded up Broad River and embarked at Boyd's Neck on the 26th of November, from where it moved to strike the railroad at Grahamville. At Honey Hill, about three miles from Grahamville, the enemy was found and attacked in a strongly fortified position, which resulted, after severe fighting, in our repulse, with a loss of 746 killed, wounded, and missing. During the night General Hatch withdrew. On the 6th of December General Foster obtained a position covering the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, between the Coosawhatchee and Tulifinny rivers.

Hood, instead of following Sherman, continued his move northward, which seemd to me to be leading to his certain doom. At all events, had I had the power to command both armies, I should not have changed the orders under which he seemed to be acting. On the 26th of October the advance of Hood's army attacked the garrison

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*Subordinate reports of the Savannah campaign will appear in Vol. XLIV.

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Page 29 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

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