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dispatches on board the U.S. S. Dandelion and examining those received from Grant. He learned now, from Grant's of the third (ten days before), that Thomas was facing Hood round Nashville and that the Government, and even Grant, were getting very impatient with Thomas for not striking hard and at once. A week later the Confederate general, Hardee, managed to evacuate Savannah before his one remaining line of retreat had been cut off. He was a thorough soldier. But men and means and time were lacking; and the civil population hoped to save all that was not considered warlike stores. Thus immense supplies fell into Sherman's hands. Savannah was of course placed under martial law. But as the war was now nearing its inevitable end, and the citizens were thoroughly “subjugated,” those who wished to remain were allowed to do so. Only two hundred left, going to Charleston under a flag of truce.
The following official announcement reached Lincoln on Christmas Eve.
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, December 22, 1864. To His EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT LINCOLN,
WASHINGTON, D. C. I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and
plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
In the meantime Hood's desperate sortie had struck north as far as Franklin, Tennessee. Here, on the last of November, General John Schofield, commanding the advanced part of Thomas's army, gallantly withstood a furious attack. On this the closing day of a lingering Indian summer the massed Confederates charged with the piercing rebel yell, and charged'again; re-formed under cover of the dense pall of stationary smoke; and returned to the charge again and again. Many a leader met his death right against the very breastworks. Another would instantly spring forward, only to fall in his turn. Thirteen times the gaunt gray lines rushed madly through the battle smoke and lost their front ranks against the withering fire before the autumn night closed in. Schofield then fell back on Brentwood, halfway on the twenty miles to Nashville. He had lost over two thousand men. But Hood had lost three times as many;and Hood's were irreplaceable except by a very few local recruits.
Hood now concentrated every available man for his final attack on Thomas, who had odds of twenty thousand in his favor. Hood marched his thirty-five
thousand up to Nashville, where he actually invested the fifty-five thousand Federals. By this time even Grant was so annoyed at what seemed to him unreasoning delay that he sent Logan to take command at once and “fight.” But on the fifteenth of December Thomas came out of his works and fought Hood with determined skill all day. Having gained a decisive advantage already he pressed it home to the very utmost on the morrow, breaking through Hood's shaken lines, enveloping whole units with converging fire, and taking prisoners in mass. After a last wild effort Hood's beaten army fled, having lost fifteen thousand men, five times as much as Thomas.
The battle of Nashville came nearer than any other to being a really annihilating victory. Out of the forty thousand men Hood had at first in Tennessee not half escaped; and of the remainder not nearly half were ever seen in arms again. As an organized force his army simply disappeared. The few thousands saved from the wreckage of the storm found their painful way east to join all that was left for the last stand against the overwhelming forces of the North.