Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

Reports from various sources led me to believe that the enemy
had detached three divisions from Petersburg to reinforce Early
in the Shenandoah Valley. I therefore sent the 2d corps and
Gregg’s division of cavalry, of the Army of the Potomac, and a
force of General Butler’s army, on the night of the 13th of
August, to threaten Richmond from the north side of the James,
to prevent him from sending troops away, and, if possible, to
draw back those sent. In this move we captured six pieces of
artillery and several hundred prisoners, detained troops that
were under marching orders, and ascertained that but one
division (Kershaw’s), of the three reputed detached, had gone.

The enemy having withdrawn heavily from Petersburg to resist
this movement, the 5th corps, General Warren commanding, was
moved out on the 18th, and took possession of the Weldon
Railroad. During the day he had considerable fighting. To
regain possession of the road, the enemy made repeated and
desperate assaults, but was each time repulsed with great
loss. On the night of the 20th, the troops on the north side of
the James were withdrawn, and Hancock and Gregg returned to the
front at Petersburg. On the 25th, the 2d corps and Gregg’s
division of cavalry, while at Reams’s Station destroying the
railroad, were attacked, and after desperate fighting, a part of
our line gave way, and five pieces of artillery fell into the
hands of the enemy.

By the 12th of September, a branch railroad was completed from
the City Point and Petersburg Railroad to the Weldon Railroad,
enabling us to supply, without difficulty, in all weather, the
army in front of Petersburg.

The extension of our lines across the Weldon Railroad compelled
the enemy to so extend his, that it seemed he could have but few
troops north of the James for the defence of Richmond. On the
night of the 28th, the 10th corps, Major-General Birney, and the
18th corps, Major-General Ord commanding, of General Butler’s
army, were crossed to the north side of the James, and advanced
on the morning of the 29th, carrying the very strong
fortifications and intrenchments below Chaffin’s Farm, known as
Fort Harrison, capturing fifteen pieces of artillery, and the
New Market Road and intrenchments. This success was followed up
by a gallant assault upon Fort Gilmer, immediately in front of
the Chaffin Farm fortifications, in which we were repulsed with
heavy loss. Kautz’s cavalry was pushed forward on the road to
the right of this, supported by infantry, and reached the
enemy’s inner line, but was unable to get further. The position
captured from the enemy was so threatening to Richmond, that I
determined to hold it. The enemy made several desperate
attempts to dislodge us, all of which were unsuccessful, and for
which he paid dearly. On the morning of the 30th, General Meade
sent out a reconnoissance with a view to attacking the enemy’s
line, if it was found sufficiently weakened by withdrawal of
troops to the north side. In this reconnoissance we captured
and held the enemy’s works near Poplar Spring Church. In the
afternoon, troops moving to get to the left of the point gained
were attacked by the enemy in heavy force, and compelled to fall
back until supported by the forces holding the captured works.
Our cavalry under Gregg was also attacked, but repulsed the
enemy with great loss.

On the 7th of October, the enemy attacked Kautz’s cavalry north
of the James, and drove it back with heavy loss in killed,
wounded, and prisoners, and the loss of all the artillery eight
or nine pieces. This he followed up by an attack on our
intrenched infantry line, but was repulsed with severe
slaughter. On the 13th, a reconnoissance was sent out by
General Butler, with a view to drive the enemy from some new
works he was constructing, which resulted in very heavy loss to

On the 27th, the Army of the Potomac, leaving only sufficient
men to hold its fortified line, moved by the enemy’s right
flank. The 2d corps, followed by two divisions of the 5th
corps, with the cavalry in advance and covering our left flank,
forced a passage of Hatcher’s Run, and moved up the south side
of it towards the South Side Railroad, until the 2d corps and
part of the cavalry reached the Boydton Plank Road where it
crosses Hatcher’s Run. At this point we were six miles distant
from the South Side Railroad, which I had hoped by this movement
to reach and hold. But finding that we had not reached the end
of the enemy’s fortifications, and no place presenting itself
for a successful assault by which he might be doubled up and
shortened, I determined to withdraw to within our fortified
line. Orders were given accordingly. Immediately upon
receiving a report that General Warren had connected with
General Hancock, I returned to my headquarters. Soon after I
left the enemy moved out across Hatcher’s Run, in the gap
between Generals Hancock and Warren, which was not closed as
reported, and made a desperate attack on General Hancock’s right
and rear. General Hancock immediately faced his corps to meet
it, and after a bloody combat drove the enemy within his works,
and withdrew that night to his old position.

In support of this movement, General Butler made a demonstration
on the north side of the James, and attacked the enemy on the
Williamsburg Road, and also on the York River Railroad. In the
former he was unsuccessful; in the latter he succeeded in
carrying a work which was afterwards abandoned, and his forces
withdrawn to their former positions.

From this time forward the operations in front of Petersburg and
Richmond, until the spring campaign of 1865, were confined to the
defence and extension of our lines, and to offensive movements
for crippling the enemy’s lines of communication, and to prevent
his detaching any considerable force to send south. By the 7th
of February, our lines were extended to Hatcher’s Run, and the
Weldon Railroad had been destroyed to Hicksford.

General Sherman moved from Chattanooga on the 6th of May, with
the Armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio, commanded,
respectively, by Generals Thomas McPherson, and Schofield, upon
Johnston’s army at Dalton; but finding the enemy’s position at
Buzzard’s Roost, covering Dalton, too strong to be assaulted,
General McPherson was sent through Snake Gap to turn it, while
Generals Thomas and Schofield threatened it in front and on the
north. This movement was successful. Johnston, finding his
retreat likely to be cut off, fell back to his fortified
position at Resaca, where he was attacked on the afternoon of
May 15th. A heavy battle ensued. During the night the enemy
retreated south. Late on the 17th, his rear-guard was overtaken
near Adairsville, and heavy skirmishing followed. The next
morning, however, he had again disappeared. He was vigorously
pursued, and was overtaken at Cassville on the 19th, but during
the ensuing night retreated across the Etowah. While these
operations were going on, General Jefferson C. Davis’s division
of Thomas’s army was sent to Rome, capturing it with its forts
and artillery, and its valuable mills and foundries. General
Sherman, having give his army a few days’ rest at this point,
again put it in motion on the 23d, for Dallas, with a view of
turning the difficult pass at Allatoona. On the afternoon of
the 25th, the advance, under General Hooker, had a severe battle
with the enemy, driving him back to New Hope Church, near
Dallas. Several sharp encounters occurred at this point. The
most important was on the 28th, when the enemy assaulted General
McPherson at Dallas, but received a terrible and bloody repulse.

On the 4th of June, Johnston abandoned his intrenched position
at New Hope Church, and retreated to the strong positions of
Kenesaw, Pine, and Lost mountains. He was forced to yield the
two last-named places, and concentrate his army on Kenesaw,
where, on the 27th, Generals Thomas and McPherson made a
determined but unsuccessful assault. On the night of the 2d of
July, Sherman commenced moving his army by the right flank, and
on the morning of the 3d, found that the enemy, in consequence
of this movement, had abandoned Kenesaw and retreated across the

General Sherman remained on the Chattahoochee to give his men
rest and get up stores until the 17th of July, when he resumed
his operations, crossed the Chattahoochee, destroyed a large
portion of the railroad to Augusta, and drove the enemy back to
Atlanta. At this place General Hood succeeded General Johnston
in command of the rebel army, and assuming the
offensive-defensive policy, made several severe attacks upon
Sherman in the vicinity of Atlanta, the most desperate and
determined of which was on the 22d of July. About one P.M. of
this day the brave, accomplished, and noble-hearted McPherson
was killed. General Logan succeeded him, and commanded the Army
of the Tennessee through this desperate battle, and until he was
superseded by Major-General Howard, on the 26th, with the same
success and ability that had characterized him in the command of
a corps or division.

In all these attacks the enemy was repulsed with great loss.
Finding it impossible to entirely invest the place, General
Sherman, after securing his line of communications across the
Chattahoochee, moved his main force round by the enemy’s left
flank upon the Montgomery and Macon roads, to draw the enemy
from his fortifications. In this he succeeded, and after
defeating the enemy near Rough-and-Ready, Jonesboro, and
Lovejoy’s, forcing him to retreat to the south, on the 2d of
September occupied Atlanta, the objective point of his campaign.

About the time of this move, the rebel cavalry, under Wheeler,
attempted to cut his communications in the rear, but was
repulsed at Dalton, and driven into East Tennessee, whence it
proceeded west to McMinnville, Murfreesboro’, and Franklin, and
was finally driven south of the Tennessee. The damage done by
this raid was repaired in a few days.

During the partial investment of Atlanta, General Rousseau
joined General Sherman with a force of cavalry from Decatur,
having made a successful raid upon the Atlanta and Montgomery
Railroad, and its branches near Opelika. Cavalry raids were also
made by Generals McCook, Garrard, and Stoneman, to cut the
remaining Railroad communication with Atlanta. The first two
were successful the latter, disastrous.

General Sherman’s movement from Chattanooga to Atlanta was
prompt, skilful, and brilliant. The history of his flank
movements and battles during that memorable campaign will ever
be read with an interest unsurpassed by anything in history.

His own report, and those of his subordinate commanders,
accompanying it, give the details of that most successful

He was dependent for the supply of his armies upon a
single-track railroad from Nashville to the point where he was
operating. This passed the entire distance through a hostile
country, and every foot of it had to be protected by troops. The
cavalry force of the enemy under Forrest, in Northern
Mississippi, was evidently waiting for Sherman to advance far
enough into the mountains of Georgia, to make a retreat
disastrous, to get upon this line and destroy it beyond the
possibility of further use. To guard against this danger,
Sherman left what he supposed to be a sufficient force to
operate against Forrest in West Tennessee. He directed General
Washburn, who commanded there, to send Brigadier-General S. D.
Sturgis in command of this force to attack him. On the morning
of the 10th of June, General Sturgis met the enemy near Guntown,
Mississippi, was badly beaten, and driven back in utter rout and
confusion to Memphis, a distance of about one hundred miles,
hotly pursued by the enemy. By this, however, the enemy was
defeated in his designs upon Sherman’s line of communications.
The persistency with which he followed up this success exhausted
him, and made a season for rest and repairs necessary. In the
meantime, Major-General A. J. Smith, with the troops of the Army
of the Tennessee that had been sent by General Sherman to General
Banks, arrived at Memphis on their return from Red River, where
they had done most excellent service. He was directed by
General Sherman to immediately take the offensive against
Forrest. This he did with the promptness and effect which has
characterized his whole military career. On the 14th of July,
he met the enemy at Tupelo, Mississippi, and whipped him
badly. The fighting continued through three days. Our loss was
small compared with that of the enemy. Having accomplished the
object of his expedition, General Smith returned to Memphis.

During the months of March and April this same force under
Forrest annoyed us considerably. On the 24th of March it
captured Union City, Kentucky, and its garrison, and on the 24th
attacked Paducah, commanded by Colonel S. G. Hicks, 40th Illinois
Volunteers. Colonel H., having but a small force, withdrew to
the forts near the river, from where he repulsed the enemy and
drove him from the place.

On the 13th of April, part of this force, under the rebel
General Buford, summoned the garrison of Columbus, Kentucky, to
surrender, but received for reply from Colonel Lawrence, 34th
New Jersey Volunteers, that being placed there by his Government
with adequate force to hold his post and repel all enemies from
it, surrender was out of the question.

On the morning of the same day Forrest attacked Fort Pillow,
Tennessee, garrisoned by a detachment of Tennessee cavalry and
the 1st Regiment Alabama colored troops, commanded by Major
Booth. The garrison fought bravely until about three o’clock in
the afternoon, when the enemy carried the works by assault; and,
after our men threw down their arms, proceeded to an inhuman and
merciless massacre of the garrison.

On the 14th, General Buford, having failed at Columbus, appeared
before Paducah, but was again driven off.

Guerillas and raiders, seemingly emboldened by Forrest’s
operations, were also very active in Kentucky. The most noted
of these was Morgan. With a force of from two to three thousand
cavalry, he entered the State through Pound Gap in the latter
part of May. On the 11th of June they attacked and captured
Cynthiana, with its entire garrison. On the 12th he was
overtaken by General Burbridge, and completely routed with heavy
loss, and was finally driven out of the State. This notorious
guerilla was afterwards surprised and killed near Greenville,
Tennessee, and his command captured and dispersed by General

In the absence of official reports of the commencement of the
Red River expedition, except so far as relates to the movements
of the troops sent by General Sherman under General A. J. Smith,
I am unable to give the date of its starting. The troops under
General Smith, comprising two divisions of the 16th and a
detachment of the 17th army corps, left Vicksburg on the 10th of
March, and reached the designated point on Red River one day
earlier than that appointed by General Banks. The rebel forces
at Fort de Russy, thinking to defeat him, left the fort on the
14th to give him battle in the open field; but, while occupying
the enemy with skirmishing and demonstrations, Smith pushed
forward to Fort de Russy, which had been left with a weak
garrison, and captured it with its garrison about three hundred
and fifty men, eleven pieces of artillery, and many
small-arms. Our loss was but slight. On the 15th he pushed
forward to Alexandria, which place he reached on the 18th. On
the 21st he had an engagement with the enemy at Henderson’s
Hill, in which he defeated him, capturing two hundred and ten
prisoners and four pieces of artillery.

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