The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Chapter 17



THE position of the two great armies of the United  States at the opening of the year 1864 plainly indicated  that the main interest of the military movements of the  year was to be with the Army of the Potomac, which lay  around Culpepper Court-House, still looking towards  Richmond with unfaltering determination; and with the  great Army of the West, which was gathering around  Chattanooga for its long and perilous southward march.  During the month of January little was done anywhere  except to prepare for the coming campaign. Neither of  the grand armies made any movement during February  or March, but some smaller expeditions were set on  foot.

As early as the 15th of December, 1863, General Gillmore, commanding the Department of the South, had  applied to the Government for permission to send an  expedition into Florida, for the purpose of cutting off  supplies of the enemy; and in January, in urging the  matter still further upon the attention of General Halleck,  he suggested that measures might be also inaugurated for  restoring the State of Florida to her allegiance under the  terms of the President's Proclamation. General Gillmore  was authorized to take such action in the matter as he  should deem proper; and he accordingly organized an  expedition, which left Port Royal on the 5th of February, under General Seymour, and was followed soon  afterwards by General Gillmore himself--to whom, on the 13th of January, the President had addressed the  following letter:


Major-General GILLMORE:

I understand an effort is being made by some worthy gentlemen to  reconstruct a legal State Government in Florida. Florida is in your  Department, and it is not unlikely you may be there in person. I have  given Mr. Hay a commission of major, and sent him to you with some  bank-books and other blanks, to aid in the reconstruction. He will ex plain as to the manner of using the blanks, and also my general views on  the subject. It is desirable for all to co-operate, but if irreconcilable  differences of opinion shall arise, you are master. I wish the thing done  in the most speedy way, so that when done it be within the range of the  late proclamation on the subject. The detail labor will, of course, have  to be done by others; but I will be greatly obliged if you will give it  such general supervision as you can find consistent with your more  strictly military duties.


The advance portion of the expedition reached Jacksonville on the 8th of February. General Gillmore returned to Port Royal on the 16th, leaving the command  of the expedition to General Seymour. The first operations were successful. Near Jacksonville one hundred  prisoners, with eight pieces of serviceable artillery, fell  into our hands, and expeditions were pushed forward  into the interior, by which large amounts of stores and  supplies were destroyed. On the 17th, General Seymour,  with five thousand men, was on the Florida Central  Railroad, about forty-five miles from Jacksonville. Here  they remained until the 20th, when the preparations for  a movement towards Lake City were completed. The  enemy was found in force, a little before reaching Lake  City, at Olustee, a small station on the railroad. The  engagement was commenced between the enemy's skirmishers and our advance. The fire. directed against our  men was so hot that they were compelled to fall back;  then we brought two batteries to bear on the enemy, and  our whole force became engaged with more than twice  their number of the rebels, who occupied a strong position, flanked by a marsh. Again we retreated, taking another position; but it was impossible to contend with  a force so greatly superior, and, after a battle of three  hours and a half, General Seymour retired, leaving  his dead and severely wounded on the field. Five guns  were lost, and about a thousand men killed, wounded,  and missing.

On the 3d of February, General Sherman, with a strong  force, set out from Vicksburg, in light marching order,  and moved eastward. Shortly after, a cavalry expedition, under General Smith, set out from Memphis, to  work its way southeastward, and join Sherman somewhere on the borders of Mississippi and Alabama. By  the 18th, Smith had accomplished nearly one-half of his  proposed march, but soon after found the enemy concentrated in superior force in his front. Finding it impossible to proceed, he fell back, destroying the bridges on  the Memphis and Ohio Railroad in his retreat. There  was continual skirmishing, but no decisive battle, during  the retreat, which lasted until the 25th, when the expedition accomplished its return to Memphis. Much damage was done to the enemy by the destruction of property,  but the main object of making a junction with Sherman  failed. Sherman went as far east as Meridian, almost on  the borders of Mississippi and Alabama, and after destroying large quantities of rebel stores, and breaking  their lines of communication, he returned to Vicksburg.

Another enterprise was a raid upon Richmond, made  by a large cavalry force under General Kilpatrick.  Leaving his camp on the 28th of February, he crossed  the Rapidan, gained the rear of Lee's army without being  discovered, and pushed rapidly on in the direction of  Richmond. A detachment under Colonel Dahlgren was  sent from the main body to Frederick's Hall, on the  Virginia Central Railroad. The road was torn up for  some distance; then the James River Canal was struck,  and six grist-mills, which formed one of the main sources  of supply for the Confederate army, were destroyed. Several locks on the canal were blown up, and other damage done. Dahlgren's main body then pressed onward to wards Richmond, and came within three miles of the city,  when, encountering a Confederate force, it was compelled  to withdraw, Dahlgren himself being killed, and a large  part of his force captured. Kilpatrick, meanwhile,  pressed onward to Spottsylvania Court-House, and thence  to Beaver Dam, near where the two lines of railway from  Richmond, those running to Gordonsville and Fredericksburg, cross. Here the railway was torn up, and the  telegraph line cut, and the cavalry pushed straight on  towards Richmond. They reached the outer line of  fortifications at a little past ten on the morning of the 1st  of March, about three and a half miles from the city.  These were fairly passed, and the second line, a Mile  nearer, was reached, and a desultory fire was kept up for  some hours. Towards evening Kilpatrick withdrew, and  encamped six miles from the city. In the night an  artillery attack was made upon the camp, and our troops  retired still farther, and on the following morning took  up their line of march down the Peninsula towards  Williamsburg. Several miles of railway connection of  great importance to the enemy were interrupted, stores to  the value of several millions of dollars were destroyed,  and some hundreds of prisoners were captured, as the  result of this expedition.

In the early part of March, General Banks organized  an expedition with all the available force of the army and  navy in his department, to move up the Red River as  far as Shreveport, where the rebels had large supplies,  and where it was intended that he should be joined by  General Steele, with the forces which he could collect in  Arkansas, when the combined armies would be powerful enough to sweep away all rebel opposition in that  part of the State, if not in Texas.

A force of about ten thousand men, under command of  General A. J. Smith, left Vicksburg on the 10th of  March in twenty transports, and, having joined the fleet,  proceeded up the Red River. This portion of the expedition met with a decided success in the capture of Fort  De Russey by storm, with but little loss, by which capture the river was opened to the. fleet as far as Alexandria, where the whole expedition was united under command of General Banks. On the 26th of March they  moved forward, meeting with uninterrupted success, as far  as Natchitoches, some eighty miles above Alexandria. But  at Sabine Cross-Roads, about twenty miles farther up,  they found the rebel army posted, under the command of  General Dick Taylor. This resistance had not been anticipated: the army was not marching compactly, nor could  the gunboats be of any assistance, on account of the distance of the river from the road.

The consequence was, that the Thirteenth Corps of our  army, being too far in advance to receive proper support,  was attacked by the rebels in superior force and driven  back upon the Nineteenth Corps, which had formed in line  of battle, and which repulsed the advancing enemy with  great slaughter. This battle was fought on the 8th of  April. That night General Banks determined to fall  back to Pleasant Hill, at which point two other divisions,  under General A. J. Smith, had arrived. Here our  forces were attacked, about five o'clock in the afternoon  of the next day. The rebels at first gained some advantage, pressing the Nineteenth Corps back up a hill,  behind the crest of which lay General Smith's troops, by  whose unexpected and destructive fire the rebel lines of  battle, as they came over the crest, were suddenly arrested. A rapid charge of the Union troops put the rebels  entirely to flight, with a loss of several thousand killed  and wounded, many hundred prisoners, and some guns,  most of which, however, had been taken from us by the  rebels the day before.

Our own army, however, was so shattered in the two  battles, that General Banks ordered a retreat of the entire  force to Grand Ecore, some forty miles below. The  water in the Red River being unusually low, and falling,  it was found necessary to remove the fleet, and with it  the army, still farther down the river to Alexandria. On  the way down, the gunboat Eastport having got aground,  had to be abandoned, and was blown up.

General Steele, in consequence of the retreat of General Banks, was himself compelled to fall back to Little  Rock, which he reached without much fighting, but with  the loss of a good deal of material.

The water in the Red River continued to fall until it  was found that there was not water enough on the falls  at Alexandria to allow the gunboats to pass over. The  rebels were enabled to throw forces below, so as to impede  the communication with the army by the river, and as  it became evident that the army must retreat still farther, the gravest apprehensions were felt lest the whole  fleet of twelve gunboats should be of necessity, abandoned to the rebels, or blown up. In this extremity, a  plan was devised by Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, of the  Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry, Acting Engineer of the Nineteenth Corps, of building a series of dams on the falls,  by which to raise the water sufficiently to allow the gunboats to pass over. The plan was ridiculed by some of  the best engineers; but under the approval of Commodore Porter, who commanded the fleet, and General  Banks, it was tried with perfect success. The dams were  built within ten days, and all the gunboats brought safely  over. Commodore Porter, in his report, says, "Words  are inadequate to express the admiration I feel for Colonel Bailey. * * * Leaving out his ability as an engineer  and the credit he has conferred upon the country, he has  saved the Union a valuable fleet, worth nearly $2,000,000,  and has deprived the enemy of a triumph which would  have emboldened them to carry on this war a year or  two longer." Colonel Bailey was at once appointed by  the President a brigadier-general for these distinguished  services.

After this escape, the fleet and the army retreated  down the river. The fleet lost two small gunboats by  rebel batteries on the way down; but the army, though  attacked several times, repulsed the rebels with considerable loss, and crossed the Atchafalaya in safety, on the  19th of May.

About the time of the check which General Banks received at Sabine Cross-Roads, the arms of the Union  met with reverses in two other quarters. One of these  was the capture of Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi, on  the 12th of April, by a rebel force under General Forrest,  a capture marked in the history of the war by the atrocious butchery of the garrison after the surrender of the  place. The garrison was composed of about six hundred men under command of Major Boyd, who was  killed near the close of the light. Of these six hundred  about three hundred and fifty were colored troops. The  attack was commenced in the early morning, and the garrison were driven from some outworks into the fort  itself, which they defended with the assistance of a gunboat, till about four P. M., when the rebels made a final  charge upon the fort from positions which they had occupied by taking advantage of a flag of truce sent to the  fort to demand its surrender, and carried its defences by  storm. The garrison thereupon threw down their arms  and surrendered, but were shot down in cold blood until  but few were left alive. Some were forced to stand up  in line and were then shot. Some were shot when lying  wounded on the ground. Women and children were  shot or cut to pieces. The huts in which the sick and  wounded had taken refuge were fired over their heads,  and there were stories of even darker cruelties than these.  Of the white officers who commanded the colored troops,  but two were left alive, and these were wounded. Of the  garrison there were left thirty-six white men and twenty-one negroes, and forty were carried off as prisoners. Some  of the negroes saved their lives by feigning death and  digging out from the thin covering of earth which the  rebels had thrown over their victims.

The news of this atrocity excited the deepest horror  throughout the country, and there was a general call for  retaliation. In order to have an authentic statement of  the facts, Congress passed resolutions directing the Committee on the Conduct of the War to investigate the mat  ter. The committee sent two of its members, Senator  Wade and Mr. Gooch, to the spot. They examined many witnesses, and on the 5th of May made their report, with  the testimony which they had taken. The report showed  that this proceeding of the rebels was in pursuance of a  policy deliberately adopted, in the expectation of driving  from the ranks of the Union armies not only the negroes,  but also the "home-made Yankees," as they termed the  loyal Southerners.

The massacre was referred to by the President in his  speech at the opening of the Sanitary Commission Fair,  in Baltimore, while it was still under investigation, and  he then said that if the massacre was proved to have been  committed, retribution should surely come; nor was this  the first time that the question of retaliation had been  brought to his attention. In fact, as early as July, 1863,  the subject had been considered, and the conclusion  which was then arrived at was announced in the following General Order:--


It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its citizens, of  whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to those who are duly  organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations and the  usages and customs of war, as carried on by civilized powers, permit no  distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public  enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person, on account of his color  and for no offence against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and  a crime against the civilization of the age.

The Government of the United States will give the same protection to  all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of  his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's  prisoners in our possession.

It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed  in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for  every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall  be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continued at such labor  until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war.


But whether from the President's tenderness of heart,  which made it very hard for him to order the execution  of a rebel soldier who had himself done no special wrong,  even in retaliation for such barbarities as this at Fort Pillow, or from some other cause, the first part of this order was never executed. The latter part of it was once carried  into effect with excellent results by General Buffer during  the siege of Petersburg. Having learned that some of our  colored troops, who had been taken prisoners, were not  treated as prisoners of war, but were made to work by the  rebels on their fortifications, he at once took a number of  rebel officers and set them at work upon the canal, Which  he was digging at Dutch Gap, where they were constantly  exposed to the heavy fire which the rebels kept up to  check the progress of the work. This treatment proved  speedily effectual. Our colored soldiers were relieved  from their work on the fortifications, and the rebel officers  were withdrawn from their exposed position and their  weary labors.

Another similar action led to a similar result. The  rebels at Charleston, desirous of checking the fire of the  "swamp angel" and other guns, which were making the  city uninhabitable, placed some of our officers within  reach of the shells, and notified our forces that they had  done so. On our part a number of rebel officers of equal  rank were immediately taken thither and also placed under fire. The only result was the exchange of the officers,  and the rebels did not undertake again to defend themselves in that way.

Fort Pillow was not the only case of such atrocities on  the part of the rebels. A somewhat similar affair took place  on the 20th of April in North Carolina, on the capture of  Plymouth on the Roanoke River, where a company of loyal  North Carolinians and some negro troops were also murdered in cold blood after the surrender. The capture was  mainly effected by the success of a rebel iron-clad, the Albemarle, which was able to destroy some of our gunboats,  and drive others down the river, the commander of the  Miami, Lieutenant Flusser, being killed by the rebound of  a shell, which he had himself fired against the iron sides  of the rebel vessel. Our fleet being driven down the  river, communication with our garrison in Plymouth was  cut off, and the place, being attacked by a heavy rebel  force, was surrendered, after a gallant defence for four days, by its commander, General Wessels, with its garrison of  fifteen hundred men and twenty-five guns. The effect of  this success was to render the withdrawal of our troops  from other places in North Carolina inevitable. The  Albemarle had for a time complete control of the river,  but coming down into the Sound, she was attacked by  three of our wooden gunboats, and in a gallant fight was  so injured as to be compelled to betake herself up the  river again to Plymouth, which she never left afterwards,  being sunk at her moorings, on the night of the 27th of  October following, by a torpedo-boat, commanded by  Lieutenant Cushing.

In these smaller affairs, the rebels had been able to gain  some successes, Owing to the policy adopted by General  Grant, of concentrating our forces from all quarters to  strengthen the two great armies whose movements were  to grind the Confederacy to powder.

General Grant, having been appointed to the command  of the armies of the United States, went to Nashville,  where he issued an order announcing his assumption of  the command. After making what arrangements were  necessary with reference to the Western army, which he  left under the command of General Sherman, he came  eastward, to conduct in person the campaign against  General Lee. The preparations for the coming campaign took time, and it was not till the third day of May  that all things were ready for the forward movement.  The Army of the Potomac remained under the special  command of General Meade, and lay about Culpepper  Court-House. General Burnside had been collecting a  strong force, in good part colored troops, at Annapolis.  Another strong force was under the command of General Butler and General Smith, at Yorktown, and yet another, not so strong, under General Sigel, at Winchester.  Burnside's troops were put in motion, and passed through  Washington on the 23d of April to a position whence  they could follow the Army of the Potomac at a short  distance- and all things were thus now ready for  the great advance. At this time the following correspondence passed between the President and General  Grant:--


Lieut.-General GRANT:

Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign opens, I wish to  express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to  this time, so far as I understand it.

The particulars of your plans I neither know nor seek to know. You  are vigilant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude  any restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very anxious that  any great disaster or capture of our men in great number shall be avoided,  I know that these points are less likely to escape your attention than they  would be mine. If there be any thing wanting which is within my power  to give, do not fail to let me know it.

And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you.

Yours very truly,





Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence  you express for the future and satisfaction for the past, in my military  administration, is acknowledged with pride. It shall be my earnest  endeavor that you and the country shall not be disappointed. From my  first entrance into the volunteer service of the country to the present day,  I have never had cause of complaint; have never expressed or implied a  complaint against the Administration, or the Secretary of War, for throw ing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting what  appeared to be my duty.

Indeed, since the promotion which placed me in command of all the  armies, and in view of the great responsibility and importance of success.  I have been astonished at the readiness with which every thing asked for  has been yielded, without even an explanation being asked. Should my  success be less than I deserve and expect, the least I can say is, the fault  is not with you.

Very truly, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General.

The interest and anxiety with which the people watched  for the approaching movement of the army was very deep.  Nor did it content itself with mere watchfulness. It took  the right direction of work, and from every quarter the hands of the Government were stayed up by the willing  hearts of the people.

As one instance of the desire to help, which was universally felt, we may mention the offer of Colonel F. B.  Loomis, of New London, to garrison Fort Trumbull with  citizen soldiers for one hundred days, at his own expense,  thus releasing the veterans, by whom it was garrisoned, to  go to the front.

The President replied to this offer as follows:--



I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of  the 28th April, in which you offer to replace the present garrison at Fort  Trumbull with volunteers, which you propose to raise at your own expense. While it seems inexpedient at this time to accept this proposition,  on account of the special duties now devolving upon the garrison mentioned, I cannot pass unnoticed such a meritorious instance of individual  patriotism. Permit me, for the Government, to express my cordial thanks  to you for this generous and public-spirited offer, which is worthy of note  among the many called forth in these times of national trial.

I am, very truly, your obedient servant,


F. B. LOOMIS, Esq.

It was on Monday, the 2d of May, that the forward  march of the army began, and the Rapidan was crossed  without opposition on Tuesday and Wednesday, by the  fords lying to the east of Lee's position. General Grant,  recognizing the fact that the strength of the rebellion lay  not in the fortifications of Richmond, but in the ranks of  Lee's army, aimed to place himself upon the southern  communications of that army, and by heavy blows to  destroy it. And with the very commencement of this  movement he forced Lee to leave the intrenched line behind which he had so long faced the gathering storm, and  make haste to attack his foe before he had reached his  rear. This he at once did, and on Thursday the battles  of the Wilderness began. The character of the ground  gave every advantage to the rebels, It was all overgrown  with scrub pines, with but few roads leading through it.

They knew the ground thoroughly, and their movements  could be made unseen, while the dense woods made cavalry and artillery almost useless. Lee's first effort was to  break through our lines between our centre under Warren and our left under Hancock, but by great exertions  this was prevented, and night came without any substantial result. With the morning of Friday, General  Grant assumed the offensive, and the tide of battle ebbed  and flowed throughout the day. On our left, Hancock's  successes in the morning were lost again by noon, but a  heavy attack of the rebels upon him in the afternoon was  successfully repulsed. On our right no material advantage of position was gained during the day; but the death  of General Wadsworth, who fell at the head of his men,  was a heavy loss to us, and by a furious assault, just  before night, the rebels succeeded in breaking our lines,  capturing General Thomas Seymour, and many of his  men. The lines were, however, speedily re-established.  The result was on the whole favorable to General Grant,  as the rebels had failed to thoroughly break his lines or  disable him for the forward movement which, on Saturday night, after a day of skirmishing without any general  engagement, he undertook, aiming at Spottsylvania Court-House. The rebels, however, becoming aware of his  movement, moved likewise, and, having the shorter line,  gained the position first, and held it against our attack  during the hours of Sunday, our lines being formed about  two miles and a half north of Spottsylvania. Monday was  a day of skirmishing, sadly marked for us, however, by  the death of General Sedgwick, who was in command of  the Sixth Corps. Night found the two armies facing each  other, each behind temporary breastworks, each watchful,  each determined.

The news of the movement of the army was not made  public until Friday morning. The vital importance of  its results was everywhere felt. All eyes were at once  intent upon those bloody fields, all ears eager for information of what was going on there; and the prayers of the  whole people of the North went up to God, earnest, fervent, full of faith, that He would bless the righteous  cease.

Official bulletins were given to the public of the results  of the different days' operations as they slowly became  known. And on Tuesday morning all hearts were thrilled  with joy by the following official announcement from the  President:--


To the Friends of Union and Liberty:

Enough is known of army operations, within the last five days, to  claim our special gratitude to God. While what remains undone de mands our most sincere prayers to and reliance upon Him (without whom  all effort is vain), I recommend that all patriots at their homes, in their  places of public worship, and wherever they may be, unite in common  thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.


Accompanying this recommendation were published  bulletins of the results up to Saturday, the retiring of  the rebels from General Grant's front, and the march of  our army towards Spottsylvania. The news spread great  joy everywhere, and that night a crowd of several thousand people marched to the White House to serenade the  President, who, being called for, came out and spoke as  follows:--

FELLOW-CITIZENS:--I am very much obliged to you for the compliment  of this call, though I apprehend it is owing more to the good news  received to-day from the army, than to a desire to see me. I am indeed  very grateful to the brave men who have been struggling with the enemy  in the field, to their noble commanders who have directed them, and  especially to our Maker. Our commanders are following up their victo ries resolutely and successfully. I think, without knowing the particu lars of the plans of General Grant, that what has been accomplished is  of more importance than at first appears. I believe, I know (and am  especially grateful to know) that General Grant has not been jostled in  his purposes, that he has made all his points, and to-day he is on his line  as he purposed before he moved his armies. I will volunteer to say that  I am very glad at what has happened, but there is a great deal still to be  done. While we are grateful to all the brave men and officers for the  events of the past few days, we should, above all, be very grateful to  Almighty God, who gives us victory.

There is enough yet before us requiring all loyal men and patriots to perform their share of the labor and follow the example of the modest  General at the head of our armies, and sink all personal consideration  for the sake of the country. I commend you to keep yourselves in the  same tranquil mood that is characteristic of that brave and loyal man.  I have said more than I expected when I came before you. Repeating my  thanks for this call, I bid you good-by.

While the movement of the Army of the Potomac  was the chief point of interest, it was not the only  one. On Wednesday, May 4th, General Butler having  put his troops on board a fleet of transports, made a rapid  move up the James River and occupied City Point and  Bermuda Hundred, on both sides of the Appomattox  River, across which pontoons were thrown--while General Kautz, at the head of a strong force of cavalry, left  Suffolk upon a raid on the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad--which he succeeded in cutting by destroying some  bridges. General Butler also succeeded in cutting the  railroad between Petersburg and Richmond, so as to prevent for a time the sending of re-enforcements to General  Lee from the forces that were south of Richmond under  Beauregard.

General Grant, meantime, had not been content with  merely pounding against Lee's front with men and with  guns, of which he was now able to employ more than in  the battles of the Wilderness. He also dispatched his cavalry under General Sheridan round the right flank of the  rebels, on the 10th of May, which, reaching the railroads,  made an immense destruction of supplies prepared for  Lee's army, and of locomotives and cars for their transportation, and which, on the 11th, routed the rebel carairy under General Stuart, at Yellow Tavern, in which  engagement Stuart was killed; and, pressing on yet nearer  Richmond and over the first line of the works around the  city, turned off to the east, and crossing the Chickahominy, reached Fortress Monroe with little loss, having inflicted great damage on the enemy.

The 10th and 11th of May were days of hard fighting  for the Army of the Potomac, of heavy losses and partial successes for both sides, and of attacks met and repulsed, with the employment of all the resources of both  armies; and the dispatches which General Grant sent to  Washington on the night of the 11th summed up the  results as follows:--

We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting. The result  to this time is much in our favor. Our losses have been heavy, as well  as those of the enemy. I think the loss of the enemy must be greater.  We have taken over five thousand prisoners in battle, while he has taken  from us but few, except stragglers. I propose to fight it out on this line,  if it takes all summer.

The early light of the next morning brought results  yet more in our favor; for with the break of day, Hancock, now on our right, fell like a thunderbolt upon the  rebel intrenchments, and stormed over them, capturing  several thousand prisoners, including two generals, together with thirty or forty cannon, only eighteen of which,  however, he was able to hold. For Lee, stung to the  quick by this deadly blow, gathered all his forces to retake the position, and five desperate charges upon it during the day covered the ground with dead and wounded,  until, when the battle was over, nearly a thousand rebel  dead lay within an acre or two of ground in front of the  works. The utmost exertions of the rebels were in vain,  however, and they sullenly withdrew to another position. A storm now set in and enforced quiet on both  armies for several days. During this time General Butler moved forward towards Fort Darling, but on the 16th  day of May he met with a heavy blow from the rebels,  who took advantage of a fog to make a successful attack,  driving him from the railroad and forcing him to return  to his lines at Bermuda Hundred. General Sigel, too, who  had marched down the Shenandoah Valley, was met by a  superior force under General Imbden, and driven back  with a loss of five guns. General Kautz, however, with  his cavalry, having returned from his first successful raid,  set out upon a second one towards the Danville road,  which he also succeeded in injuring to some extent.

The Government strained every nerve to send forward re-enforcements to General Grant, and on the 18th the  fighting in front of Spottsylvania was renewed. On the  19th the rebels inflicted a heavy loss upon our right by  making an unexpected attack, in which some of our newly  arrived regiments suffered severely. Tiffs was an attempt  of the rebels to cut our communications, but they failed  entirely in doing so.

They had, however, by this time thrown up intrenchments of so formidable a character that General Grant  determined again to make a flanking movement by the  left.

The movement was at once perceived by General Lee,  and when our forces arrived at the North Anna river, the  rebels were already there. They were not, however,  able to prevent our forces from crossing the river, and  inflicting a severe blow upon the enemy in the crossing.  After crossing, however, the main body of Lee's army  was discovered to have taken so strong a position between the North and South Anna rivers, that General  Grant again deemed it wise not to make a direct attack,  but to repeat his flanking movement.

The army was accordingly withdrawn without loss  from Lee's front on the night of Thursday, May 96th, and,  moving again by the left, crossed the Pamunkey, but  was again confronted by the rebel army, which, after  some severe fighting, again made a stand at Coal Harbor.  While here, one corps of General Butler's army, under  General Smith, was transferred to the Army of the Potomac. Thus re-enforced, a violent but unsuccessful attack  was made upon the rebel intrenchments on the 3d of  June, and, after heavy losses, the attack was abandoned.  Repeated efforts, however, on the part of the rebels, to  turn our left, and to break up the communication which  had been formed with the White House, on the Pamunkey river, also failed as signally. And both armies thus  remained for several days, watching each other sleeplessly, and each preferring to receive rather than to make  an attack.

Other co-operative movements went on during all this time. In Western Virginia, General Averill had made  quite a successful raid upon the railroads. In the Shenandoah Valley, where General Hunter had taken command in place of General Sigel, our forces won a brilliant  victory at Piedmont over the rebels under Generals  Jones and Imboden, the former of whom was killed.  Hunter captured one thousand five hundred prisoners  and three guns; and, forming a junction with Crook and  Averill, pushed on towards Lynchburg, which however  he was unable to reach. An unsuccessful attack was  made by General Buffer's forces upon Petersburg on the  10th of June.

On the 12th of June, General Grant, having become  convinced that nothing could be gained by a direct attack  upon General Lee, followed up his plan of aiming to  strike Lee's southern communications by leaving his  front and again marching by the left to the James river,  which he crossed upon a pontoon bridge below City  Point, and immediately moved forward to the attack  upon Petersburg. Again, however, General Lee, having  the inside lines to move upon, was a few hours in advance  of our troops, and, while several forts were taken on the  outer lines of defences, with thirteen cannon and some  prisoners, in which the colored troops especially distinguished themselves, the inner lines were found to be too  strong, and our army settled itself down to the siege of  Petersburg.

General Sherman's movement upon Atlanta was made at  the same time as that of the Army of the Potomac. His army  was superior in numbers to that which was opposed to it,  but the rocky heights which were held by General Johnston were so strong that General Sherman did not waste  its strength by attacking them in front, but by a series of  masterly flank movements he compelled the rebel army  to retreat successively from Buzzard's Roost, from Dalton, and from Resaca, at which latter place there were,  however, two days of heavy fighting on the 14th and  15th of May, resulting in the capture of both guns and  prisoners by our troops, the retreat of Johnston across the Oostenaula river, and the capture without serious  opposition of Rome and Kingston, some sixty miles further on towards Atlanta. At Rome, large quantities of  provisions were captured, and large machine-shops were  destroyed. Johnston's retreat had been too rapid to  allow of his doing much damage to the railroad along  which his army was falling back towards Atlanta; and  whatever damage he was enabled to do was at once  repaired, and the railroad was put in use to supply our  armies in their advance.

The Altoona Mountains were the scene of the next  stand made by the rebels. General Sherman continued  the flanking system, and moved towards Dallas, where,  however, he was met by the rebels, who attacked McPherson's Corps on the 28th of May, and met a disastrous  repulse, losing some two thousand five hundred killed  and wounded and eight hundred prisoners This movement having drawn the rebels from their position at the  pass of the Altoona Mountains, it was occupied and held by  our cavalry, becoming at once, as General Sherman said,  "as useful to us as it was to the enemy," and the rebels  took up a new position at Kenesaw and Lost Mountain.  Efforts were made by them, while Sherman was advancing towards this position, to interfere with his communications, and some damage was done to the railroad by  rebel cavalry, which was, however, speedily driven off.  A more discouraging affair, however, was the defeat of a  heavy expedition, which set out from Memphis under  command of General Sturges, by the rebel General Forrest, on the 10th of June. The requirements of General  Sherman's position were not, however, so great but that  he was able at once to make arrangements to repair this  disaster. Like General Grant, he was not "jostled from  his plans" by these outside manœuvres any more than  by the direct blows of the rebel army, and by the 18th  of June, when Grant stationed himself before the works  of Petersburg after his march of a hundred miles and  his many battles, Sherman had arrived before the rebel  works at Kenesaw Mountain after a similar march of fighting and flanking the enemy over something more  than a hundred miles of territory.

Both of these movements are now recognized as having  been splendid successes. But it is not to be denied that  from the time of the commencement of the siege of Petersburg there was a growing feeling of doubt and anxiety in  the country in reference to the operations of the army of  the Potomac. It had been often announced that Lee's  army was cut to pieces and fleeing in disorder, and yet  that army had thus far, by repeated stands, been able to  prevent Grant from breaking through its lines. Even  Petersburg was declared to have been taken by assault  on the first attack; and yet it was found that, instead of  this, our army was not able at once to draw its lines  around the place far enough to cut off the Weldon Railroad. The losses of the army were greatly exaggerated  by the opposition, the difficulties of its position magnified,  the lack of water and the dust and heat were dilated  upon, and even the visit which the President paid to the  army on the 22d of June was dwelt upon as an event  showing that the difficulties of the situation were great,  if not insuperable.

The army, however, did not look at it in that light.  The President's visit was for them a gratification, not a  cause for anxiety, and they cheered him, as he rode along  the lines, with a heartiness which expressed their confidence in him and in the leaders whom he had given them.  The President's confident expressions as to the state of  affairs on his return went far to encourage the country;  for the people had already come in great measure to  have that abounding confidence in Mr. Lincoln which  displayed itself so wonderfully during the rest of his life.  He appreciated in his turn the confidence which the  people felt in him. "I do my best to deserve this," said  he to a friend, "but I tremble at the responsibility that  devolves upon me, a weak, mortal man, to serve such a  great and generous people in such a place as I hold, in  such an awful crisis as this. It is a terrible responsibility; but it has been imposed upon me without my seeking,  and I trust Providence has a wise purpose for me to  fulfil by appointing me to this charge, which is almost  too much for a weak mortal to hold."

He appreciated not only this confidence in him, but the  whole character of the people. "Such a people," said  he, "can never fail; and they deserve, and will receive,  the proudest place in the history of nations." It seems  sad to think that he could not have lived to see how  speedily the fulfilment of his prophecy approached.

General Grant's purpose was to extend his lines southward, cutting off as speedily as possible the railroads  which led from Petersburg to the south; and by the  cavalry arm destroying the other railroads leading to  Richmond, thus isolating it from the South. In pursaance of this plan Sheridan' with his cavalry destroyed a  large portion of the railroads between Richmond and  Gordonsville, returning to the White House, and there.  opening communications again with General Grant; and  Wilson, on the south, cut the Weldon Railroad, and,  reaching Burkerville, did serious damage also to the  Danville road. The first move of the army, however,  towards the Weldon road resulted disastrously; and  Wilson, on his return from his raid, was set upon at  Ream's Station, and had to cut his way through with  heavy loss, by the aid of a diversion effected by the  Sixth Corps, which was sent to his relief. General Hunter, too, was unable to capture Lynchburg, and, falling short of ammunition, was compelled to retreat into  Western Virginia by the Valley of the Kanawha.

Amid these various movements, Congress adjourned on  the 4th of July.

The feeling at its adjournment was not buoyant, but  tending to depression; and, just before it separated, a  resolution was passed, requesting the President to appoint a day of fasting and prayer. Accordingly, on the  7th of July, he issued the following proclamation:--


By the President of the United States.

WHEREAS, the Senate and House of Representatives at their last session  adopted a concurrent resolution, which was approved on the second day  of July instant, and which was in the words following, namely:

That the President of the United States be requested to appoint a day  of humiliation and prayer by the people of the United States, that he re quest his constitutional advisers at the head of the Executive Departments  to unite with him, as Chief Magistrate of the nation, at the City of Washington, and the members of Congress, and all magistrates, all civil, military, and naval officers, all soldiers, sailors, and marines, with all loyal  and law-abiding people, to convene at their usual places of worship, or  wherever they may be, to confess and to repent of their manifold sins, to  implore the compassion and forgiveness of the Almighty, that if consistent  with His will, the existing rebellion may be speedily suppressed, and the  supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the United States may be  established throughout all the States; to implore Him, as the Supreme  Ruler of the world, not to destroy us as a people, nor suffer us to be destroyed by the hostility or connivance of other nations, or by obstinate  adhesion to our own counsels which may be in conflict with His eternal  purposes, and to implore Him to enlighten the mind of the nation to know  and do His will, humbly believing that it is in accordance with His will  that our place should be maintained as a united people among the family  of nations; to implore Him to grant to our armed defenders, and the  masses of the people, that courage, power of resistance, and endurance  necessary to secure that result; to implore Him in His infinite goodness  to soften the hearts, enlighten the minds, and quicken the conscience of  those in rebellion, that they may lay down their arms, and speedily return  to their allegiance to the United States, that they may not be utterly destroyed, that the effusion of blood may be stayed, and that unity and fraternity may be restored, and peace established throughout all our borders.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,  cordially concurring with the Congress of the United States, in the penitential and pious sentiments expressed in the aforesaid resolutions, and  heartily approving of the devotional design and purpose thereof, do here by appoint the first Thursday of August next to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of national humiliation and prayer.

I do hereby further invite and request the heads of the Executive Departments of this Government, together with all legislators, all judges  and magistrates, and all other persons exercising authority in the land,  whether civil, military, or naval, and all soldiers, seamen, and marines in  the national service, and all the other loyal and law-abiding people of the  United States, to assemble in their preferred places of public worship on  that day, and there to render to the Almighty and merciful Ruler of the Universe, such homage and such confessions, and to offer to Him such  supplications as the Congress of the United States have, in their aforesaid  resolution, so solemnly, so earnestly, and so reverently recommended.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the  seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this seventh day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

[L. S]

By the President:


WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

The depressing effect of the apparent check in the onward movement of the work of suppressing the rebellion  was, however, much alleviated by the news which arrived on the 6th of July, of the sinking of the rebel  cruiser Alabama, on the 19th of June, off Cherbourg, by  the Kearsarge, under the command of Captain Winslow.  Opportunities for our navy to distinguish itself in battle,  except with forts, had been rare, and great rejoicing was  felt that Semmes, the commander of the Alabama, had at  last given to the Kearsarge an opportunity to prove, in  sight of France and England, that Yankee ships and guns  and men were, as of old, dangerous enemies in an encounter.

The Shenandoah Valley had been laid open by Hunter's movement into West Virginia, and the rebels took  advantage of it to make a' push northward. They crossed  the Potomac in considerable force, commanded by General Early, and on the 9th of July defeated our troops  under General Wallace, at Monocacy. The President  called for twelve thousand militia from each of the States  of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York, to meet this  invasion, from which both Baltimore and Washington  were felt to be in some danger. A bold company of raiders  even burned the house of Governor Bradford, only four  miles from Baltimore, and, passing north of Baltimore, cut  the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad, capturing two  trains of cars. One of the passengers on the cars was  Major-General Franklin, Who was taken prisoner, but  afterwards succeeded in making his escape near Reisterstown. The raiders met little opposition through the country, one striking exception being the conduct of old  Ishmael Day, a man of eighty-three years, who, when a  couple of rebels undertook to pull down a flag which was  flying over his gate, shot one of them and forced the other  to retreat. A larger company of them, however, came  and burned the old man's house, but did not succeed in  finding him. Extensive preparations were made at Baltimore to resist an attack, and the general loyalty of the  city was in marked contrast with its attitude at the outset  of the rebellion. The militia gathered fast from the loyal  States. General Grant had also sent up the Sixth Corps  of the Army of the Potomac to aid in the defence of  Washington. The Nineteenth Corps, which had just arrived from New Orleans, was also sent thither; and on the  13th of July, the rebel forces, which had for the two days  previous skirmished smartly in front of Fort Stevens, near  Washington, determined to retreat; and by the end of that  week they were all south of the Potomac, having carried off  great quantities of plunder and spread great consternation  through Maryland and the lower part of Pennsylvania,  but not having succeeded at all in compelling General  Grant to loosen his hold upon Petersburg.

Nor was this the only raid which the rebels undertook.  In Kentucky they had made great disturbances under  John Morgan, which, though checked by his rout by General Burbridge, at Cynthiana, continued, and were receiving so much countenance from rebel sympathizers in the  State, that the President deemed it wise to declare martial  law throughout the State, which was done by the following proclamation:--

By the President of the United States of America.


WASHINGTON, Tuesday, July 5.

WHEREAS, by a proclamation which was issued on the 15tH day of April,  1861, the President of the United States announced and declared that the  laws of the United States had been for some time past, and then were op posed, and the execution thereof obstructed in certain States therein mentioned, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary  course of judicial proceedings or by the power vested in the marshals by  law; and

Whereas, immediately after the issuing of the said proclamation the  land and naval forces of the United States were put into activity to sup press the said insurrections and rebellion; and

Whereas, the Congress of the United States, by an act approved on the  third day of March, 1863, did enact that during the said rebellion the  President of the United States, whenever in his judgment the public  safety may require it, is authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ  of habeas corpus in any case throughout the United States, or any part  thereof; and

Whereas, the said insurrection and rebellion still continue, endangering  the existence of the Constitution and Government of the United States; and

Whereas, the military forces of the United States are now actively en gaged in suppressing the said insurrection and rebellion in various parts  of the States where the said rebellion has been successful in obstructing  the laws and public authorities, especially in the States of Virginia and  Georgia; and

Whereas, on the fifteenth day of September last, the President of the  United States duly issued his proclamation, wherein he declared that the  privilege of the writ of habeas corpus should be suspended throughout  the United States, in cases where by the authority of the President of the  United States, the military, naval, and civil officers of the United States,  or any of them, hold persons under their command or in their custody,  either as prisoners of war, spies, or aiders or abettors of the enemy, or  officers, soldiers, or seamen enrolled or drafted, or mustered, or enlisted in,  or belonging to the land or naval forces of the United States, or as deserters therefrom, or otherwise amenable to military law, or the rules and  articles of war, or the rules and regulations prescribed for the military  and naval service by authority of the President of the United States, or  for resisting a draft, or for any other offence against the military or naval  service; and

Whereas, many citizens of the State of Kentucky have joined the forces  of the insurgents, who have on several occasions entered the said State of  Kentucky in large force and not without aid and comfort furnished by disaffected and disloyal citizens of the United States residing therein, have  not only greatly disturbed the public peace but have overborne the civil  authorities and made flagrant civil war, destroying property and life in  various parts of the State; and

Whereas, it has been made known to the President of the United States,  by the officers commanding the National armies, that combinations have  been formed in the said State of Kentucky, with a purpose of inciting the  rebel forces to renew the said operations of civil war within the said State,  and thereby to embarrass the United States armies now operating in the  said States of Virginia and Georgia, and even to endanger their safety.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by  virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws, do  hereby declare that in my judgment the public safety especially requires that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus so pro claimed in the said proclamation of the 15th of September, 1863, be made  effectual and be duly enforced in and throughout the said State of Kentucky, and that martial law be for the present declared therein. I do  therefore hereby require of the military officers in the said State that the  privilege of the habeas corpus be effectually suspended within the said  State, according to the aforesaid proclamation, and that martial law be  established therein to take effect from the date of this proclamation, the  said suspension and establishment of martial law to continue until this  proclamation shall be revoked or modified, but not beyond the period  when the said rebellion shall have been suppressed or come to an end.  And I do hereby require and command, as well as military officers, all  civil officers and authorities existing or found within the said State of Kentucky, to take notice of this proclamation and to give full effect to the  same. The martial laws herein proclaimed and the things in that respect  herein ordered will not be deemed or taken to interfere with the holding  of lawful elections, or with the proceedings of the constitutional Legislature of Kentucky, or with the administration of justice in the courts of  law existing therein between citizens of the United States in suits or proceedings which do not affect the military operations or the constituted  authorities of the Government of the United States.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the  seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this 5th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1864, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

[L. S.]


By the President:  WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

While the loyal States were thus engaged in repelling  rebel raids and strengthening the armies, General Sherman continued his victorious campaign. His assault upon  Kenesaw was a failure, because of the strength of the rebel  works; but a repetition of the flanking system drove  Johnston out of them across the Chattahoochee, which  our army crossed on the 11th of July. By a movement  of his left wing, General Sherman at once seized Decatur,  only six miles from Atlanta, and severed the railroad between Atlanta and Augusta, by which time the dissatisfaction, which had been felt in rebeldom with Johnston's  continued falling back, culminated in his removal on the  17th of July, and the appointment of General Hood in his place. Hood signalized his appointment by attacking  Sherman instead of remaining on the defensive, and was  defeated with heavy loss on the 20th of July, and again on  the 22d, when our army, though victorious, met with a  very severe loss in the death of Major-General McPherson, one of the choicest of the gallant leaders who had  stood around Sherman through all that long, laborious,  and bloody march. A raid of our cavalry, under General  Rousseau, had destroyed the railroad between Atlanta  and Montgomery, for thirty miles, with but little loss.  Another, under General Stoneman, though partially successful in what it accomplished on the Macon road, was  cut off on its return, and General Stoneman and most of  his command were captured, on the 30th of July. Still,  the month closed prosperously upon Sherman's operations. Another rebel attack was bloodily repulsed on  the 28th, and his lines were drawn closely around Atlanta, while the rebel strength had been more weakened  by Hood's assaults than by Johnston's successive retreats.

At the North the month did not close so favorably.  The hundred-days men offered by the Northwestern States  had come promptly forward and been assigned to the posts  where they were needed. On the 11th of June the President made the following brief speech to a regiment of them  from Ohio, which passed through Washington:--

Soldiers! I understand you have just come from Ohio; come to help  us in this the nation's day of trial, and also of its hopes. I thank you for  your promptness in responding to the call for troops. Your services were  never needed more than now. I know not where you are going. You  may stay here and take the places of those who will be sent to the front,  or you may go there yourselves. Wherever you go I know you will do  your best. Again I thank you. Good-by.

But notwithstanding the aid which they furnished in  order to make up the re-enforcements needed for Sherman to keep up his line of communication, for Grant  to make the necessary extension of his lines, and for  the meeting of rebel raids in various parts of the country, the President had deemed it wise, on the 18th of July, to issue the following Proclamation, ordering a  draft of five hundred thousand men:--


By the President of the United States of America.

WASHINGTON, July 18, 1864.

WHEREAS, By the act approved July 4, 1864, entitled an act further to  regulate and provide for the enrolling and calling out the national forces,  and for other purposes, it is provided that the President of the United  States may, at his discretion, at any time hereafter, call for any number  of men as volunteers for the respective terms of one, two, and three  years for military service; and that in case the quota, or any part thereof,  of any town, township, ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or  of a county not so subdivided, shall not be filled within the space of fifty  days after such call, then the President shall immediately order a draft  for one year, to fill such quota, or any part thereof which may be un filled.

And, whereas, the new enrolment heretofore ordered is so far completed as that the afore-mentioned act of Congress may now be put in  operation, for recruiting and keeping up the strength of the armies in  the field, for garrisons, and such military operations as may be required  for the purpose of suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority  of the United States Government in the insurgent States.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,  do issue this my call for five hundred thousand volunteers for the military service; provided, nevertheless, that all credits which may be established under section eight of the aforesaid act, on account of persons who  have entered the naval service during the present rebellion, and by cred its for men furnished to the military service in excess of calls heretofore  made for volunteers, will be accepted under this call for one, two, or  three years, as they may elect, and will be entitled to the bounty pro vided by law for the period of service for which they enlist.

And I hereby proclaim, order, and direct, that after the fifth day of Sep tember, 1864, being fifty days from the date of this call, a draft for troops to  serve for one year, shall be held in every town, township, ward of a city,  precinct, election district, or county not so subdivided, to fill the quota  which shall be assigned to it under this call, or any part thereof which  may be unfilled by volunteers, on the said fifth day of September, 1864.

Done at Washington this 18th day of July, in the year of our Lord,  1864, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

In testimony wherof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

[L. S.]

By the President.  WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Towards the last of the month the rebels made another  raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania, and on the 30th  of July the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was  occupied by their cavalry under General McCausland. A  written demand, signed by General Early, was presented  for $100,000 in gold, or $500,000 in currency, with a threat  of burning the town if the demand was not complied  with. As it was not complied with, they fulfilled their  threat and laid the town in ashes, without giving the citizens time to remove their property.

The rebel forces remained north of the Potomac till  about the 7th of August, but accomplished nothing else of  importance. On that day several of our commands which  had been acting against them somewhat independently  of each other were consolidated into one, at the head of  which was placed General Sheridan. The benefit of this  change was speedily seen. The rebels fell back south  of the Potomac, and were so pressed by Sheridan that  General Lee deemed it advisable to re-enforce Early from  his own lines, when Sheridan in his turn fell back, and  for some weeks there was active manœuvring on both  sides and several small battles were fought, in which we  gained more than the rebels, who were never able to cross  the Potomac in force again.

Two days before the burning of Chambersburg, General Grant had made a movement on the north side of the  James River, across which, by means of pontoon bridges,  he threw a force which was attacked before it had time  to strengthen its position, but repulsed the rebels with a  loss of four guns. This movement, though only a feint,  was heavy enough to induce General Lee to throw a  strong force to the north side also, when our men were  in the night drawn back for an attack on the Petersburg works, which was made on the 30th. The attack  was begun in front of General Burnside's lines, by the  explosion of a mine under one of the rebel forts, destroying it at once. Instantly every gun in our ranks  opened upon Petersburg and its defences, and an assault  was made upon the gap in the rebel lines caused by the explosion of the mine. The attack was successful in  piercing the lines, but not in carrying a height just within  them, called Cemetery Hill, from which, if we had succeeded in carrying it, our guns would have commanded  Petersburg and its defences. The rebels gathered here  in force, and poured so heavy a fire upon our forces that  the assault could not be maintained, and while part of  our troops were driven back, a large number of them,  who had entered the blown-up fort, were unable to return and were compelled to surrender. Our loss in the  whole affair was between two and three thousand men.  Charges were made that the colored troops, who formed  a part of the assaulting column, had failed to do their  duty; but the evidence did not sustain this charge, but  showed that the failure was due mainly to that lack of  cordial co-operation among the generals in command,  which has so often defeated the most skilful and promising plans.

It was supposed that this repulse would put an end to  active operations in front of Petersburg for along time;  but this was not giving due credit to Grant's unyielding  pertinacity. An important position on the north side of  the James was captured on the 15th of August, by a ruse,  Hancock's Corps having been shipped on transports down  the river, as if on their way to Washington, but returning  under cover of night to join the Tenth Corps in taking and  holding a position only ten miles from Richmond, capturing  some five hundred prisoners and ten guns. This position  was important to cover the work of our men in digging  the Dutch Gap Canal, through which it was hoped our  iron-clads might go up the river to flank the rebel defences.

Not satisfied with this success, but taking advantage of  the fact that Lee, encouraged by the ill success of our  assault on the 30th of July, had sent a portion of his  troops to re-enforce Early, General Grant, on the 17th,  struck a blow at the other end of his lines, upon the Weldon Railroad, which was seized by our forces. A furious attack was made upon them by the rebels, which at  one time met with a partial success, but our lines were re-established, and a subsequent attack was repulsed with  heavy loss. Two rebel generals were killed and three  wounded. Another and more determined assault was  made on the 26th, but, after tremendous fighting, was also  repulsed. Our loss was severe, but that of the rebels  was far more so. The substantial prize of the struggle,  the railroad, remained in our possession, and thus another  of the sources of supply for the army of General Lee was  cut off.

Thus the month of August gave us a decided advantage in Virginia. In the South it gave us brilliant success. In the early part of the month the preparations  were completed for an attack upon Mobile, by the fleet  under Commodore Farragut, aided by a small land force  under General Granger. The passage of the fleet into the  bay past the rebel forts, and the destruction of the  rebel fleet, were accomplished in about three hours, on  the morning of the 5th of August. Our fleet consisted  of fourteen gunboats and three monitors. The gunboats  were lashed together, two by two, that one might help  the other, and the monitors were on the starboard side of  the fleet. The Brooklyn led the way, followed by the  flagship Hartford and the rest. One of our monitors,  the Tecumseh, commanded by the gallant Craven, was  struck by a torpedo and sunk with all on board, except  her pilot and eight or ten of her crew. This disaster  momentarily checked the advance, when Farragut, in the  flag-ship, rushed forward to the head of the fleet and led  the way past the forts, followed by the rest of the gunboats, each one as she went by pouring her broadsides  into the rebel forts. Within the harbor the rebel ironclad Tennessee made desperate battle. The rest of the  rebel fleet, except one vessel, having been captured or  destroyed, she was attacked by several of our vessels  at once, who rammed her severely whenever they could  get a chance at her, and, seeing the rest of the fleet and  the monitors bearing down upon her, she surrendered.  She was commanded by Buchanan, who commanded the  Merrimac in her famous battle with the Monitor.

The conquest of the rebel fleet was followed by the  immediate surrender of Forts Gaines and Powell. Fort  Morgan still held out, but was immediately invested by  General Granger. On the 22d an assault of the fort was  commenced, and on the 23d, after a bombardment of  twelve hours, in which about three thousand shells were  thrown into it, this last of the rebel defences of the harbor of Mobile was surrendered unconditionally to our  forces.

Nor was this the only success. General Sherman had  been drawing his lines more closely around Atlanta, and  Hood having made the mistake of sending off all his cavalry upon a fruitless effort to destroy the communications  between our army and Chattanooga, General Sherman  took advantage of it to make a movement on the west of  Atlanta towards the rear of Hood's army. Leaving one  corps to defend our intrenched lines in front of the city,  he threw the rest of his army upon the railroad to Macon,  near West Point, upon the 30th of August, and thus cut  Hood's army in two and defeated one portion of it at  Jonesboro. Hood, finding that he was in danger of being  cut off, blew up his magazines in Atlanta on the night of  the 1st of September and retreated to the southeast, and  on the 2d the Twentieth Corps, which had been left in our  intrenchments, marched into the city and took possession,  and General Sherman sent the message to Washington-Atlanta is ours and fairly won."  Before receiving General Sherman's official report, the  War Department had received news of the fall of Atlanta,  and on the 2d, at eight P. M., Mr. Stanton telegraphed to  General Dix, at New York, as follows:--

This department has received intelligence this evening that General  Sherman's advance entered Atlanta about noon to-day. The particulars  have not yet been received, but telegraphic communication during the  night with Atlanta direct is expected.

It is ascertained with reasonable certainty that the naval and other  credits required by the act of Congress will amount to about two hundred  thousand, including New York, which has not yet been reported to this  department; so that the President's call of July 10 is practically reduced  to three hundred thousand men, to meet and take the of

First-- The new enlistments in the navy;

Second-- The casualties of battle, sickness, prisoners, and desertion; and

Third-- The hundred-days troops and all others going out by expiration of service this fall.

One hundred thousand new troops promptly furnished are all that  General Grant asks for the capture of Richmond and to give a finishing  blow to the rebel armies yet in the field. The residue of the call would  be adequate for garrisons in forts and to guard all the lines of communication and supply, free the country from guerrillas, give security to trade,  protect commerce and travel, and re-establish peace, order, and tranquillity  in every State. EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

This close of General Sherman's campaign was greeted  with the greatest exultation by all the people, and they  heartily responded to the recommendations of the Thanksgiving Proclamation, which the President at once issued,  and joined heartily in the thanks which he gave in the  name of the nation to officers and men, and rejoiced in the  salutes of one hundred guns which he ordered to be fired  everywhere.

This proclamation and the orders issued were as follows:--


The signal success that Divine Providence has recently vouchsafed to  the operations of the United States fleet and army in the harbor of Mo bile, and the reduction of Fort Powell, Fort Gaines, and Fort Morgan, and  the glorious achievements of the army under Major-General Sherman, in  the State of Georgia, resulting in the capture of the city of Atlanta, call  for devout acknowledgment to the Supreme Being in whose hands are  the destinies of nations. It is therefore requested that on next Sunday, in  all places of worship in the United States, thanksgivings be offered to Him  for His mercy in preserving our national existence against the insurgent  rebels who have been waging a cruel war against the Government of the  United States for its overthrow, and also that prayer be made for Divine  protection to our brave soldiers and their leaders in the field who have  so often and so gallantly perilled their lives in battling with the enemy,  and for blessings and comfort from the Father of mercies to the sick,  wounded, and prisoners, and to the orphans and widows of those who  have fallen in the service of their country, and that He will continue to  uphold the Government of the United States against all the efforts of  public enemies and secret foes.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 3, 1864.

The national thanks are tendered by the President to Admiral Farragut  and Major-General Canby, for the skill and harmony with which the recent  operations in Mobile Harbor and against Fort Powell, Fort Gaines, and  Fort Morgan were planned and carried into execution. Also to Admiral  Farragut and Major-General Granger, under whose immediate command  they were conducted, and to the gallant commanders on sea and land, and  to the sailors and soldiers engaged in the operations, for their energy and  courage, which, under the blessing of Providence, have been crowned with  brilliant success, and have won for them the applause and thanks of the  nation.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 3, 1864.

The national thanks are tendered by the President to Major-General  William T. Sherman and the gallant officers and soldiers of his command  before Atlanta, for the distinguished ability, courage, and perseverance  displayed in the campaign in Georgia, which under Divine power resulted  in the capture of the city of Atlanta. The marches, battles, sieges, and  other military operations that have signalized this campaign must render  it famous in the annals of war, and have entitled those who have partici pated therein to the applause and thanks of the nation.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 3, 1864.

Ordered.--First.-- That on Monday, the 5th day of September, commencing at the hour of twelve o'clock noon, there shall be given a salute  of one hundred guns at the arsenal and navy-yard at Washington, and on  Tuesday, the 6th of September, or on the day after the receipt of this  order, at each arsenal and navy-yard in the United States, for the recent  brilliant achievements of the fleet and land forces of the United States in  the harbor of Mobile, and the reduction of Fort Powell, Fort Gaines, and  Fort Morgan. The Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy will  issue the necessary directions in their respective departments for the execution of this order.

Second.-- That on Wednesday, the 7th day of September, commencing  at the hour of twelve o'clock noon, there shall be fired a salute of one  hundred guns at the arsenal at Washington, and at New York, Boston,  Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Newport, Ky., and at St. Louis, and  at New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Hilton Head, and Newbern, the day  after the receipt of this order, for the brilliant achievements of the army  under command of Major-General Sherman, in the State of Georgia, and  the capture of Atlanta. The Secretary of War will give directions for  the execution of this order.




Book Navigation Title Page Preface Illustrations Memorandum Table of Contents   ► Chapter I.   ► Chapter II.   ► Chapter III.   ► Chapter IV.   ► Chapter V.   ► Chapter VI.   ► Chapter VII.   ► Chapter VIII.   ► Chapter IX.   ► Chapter X.   ► Chapter XI.   ► Chapter XII.   ► Chapter XIII.   ► Chapter XIV.   ► Chapter XV.   ► Chapter XVI.   ► Chapter XVII.   ► Chapter XVIII.   ► Chapter XIX.   ► Chapter XX.   ► Chapter XXI. Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln.   ► Mr. Lincoln's Sadness   ► His Favorite Poem   ► His Religious Experience   ► His Sympathy   ► His Humor, Shrewdness, and Sentiment   ► The Emancipation Proclamation Appendix. Letters on Sundry Occasions.   ► To Mr. Lodges, of Kentucky   ► To General Hooker   ► To John B. Fry   ► To Governor Magoffin   ► To Count Gasparin   ► The President and General McClellan   ► Warnings Against Assassination Reports, Dispatches, and Proclamations Relating to the Assassination.   ► Secretary Stanton to General Dix   ► The Death-Bed   ► The Assassins   ► Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton   ► Flight of the Assassins   ► The Conspiracy Organized in Canada   ► Booth Killed. Harold Captured   ► Reward Offered by President Johnson   ► The Funeral Official Announcements   ► Acting Secretary Hunger to Minister Adams   ► Acting Secretary Hunter to his Subordinates   ► Orders from Secretary Stanton and General Grant   ► Orders from Secretary "Welles   ► Order from Secretary McCulloch   ► Order from Postmaster-General Dennison   ► Proclamation by President Johnson of a Day of Humiliation and Mourning.   ► Secretary Stanton to Minister Adams   ► Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth   ► Indictment of the Conspirators   ► The Finding of the Court