October 22, 1864: Sherman’s supplies

Sherman in Atlanta, 1864

The rebels are sending significant forces after Sherman’s communications, to besiege him in Atlanta. Meanwhile, supplies are accumulating in Chattanooga, and Sherman is preparing to stock up and cast loose.

Official Records 79:401.

WASHINGTON, October 22, 1864 – 4 p. m.
Major-General THOMAS:

Dispatches from Memphis, dated the 20th, state that Forrest, Lee, and other rebel generals, with a large force, are moving toward Tuscumbia, with the supposed intention of operating on Sherman’s communications. Sherman will find abundant supplies at the place indicated by General Grant.

Major-General and Chief of Staff.
(Copy to General Sherman.)


NASHVILLE, TENN., October 22, 1864 – 10 p. m.
(Received 1 a. m. 23d.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff:

Your dispatch of 4 p. m. to-day is received. Have ordered out scouts to ascertain the truth of the report from Memphis. Have not heard from General Sherman since my last dispatch. The railroad will be completed by the 26th instant. In the mean time supplies are being forwarded by Chattanooga, ready to throw in a large supply to Atlanta as soon as the road is open. There are supplies for three months in Chattanooga now.


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October 21, 1864: Hood’s political failure

John Bell Hood

The New York Times reports that Hood’s offense was planned to bolster the Northern peace party. It doesn’t seem to be working.

Published: October 21, 1864

– It seems that the present, or rather the late offensive campaign of HOOD was actually undertaken as a means of affording aid and comfort to the peace party of the North. JEFF. DAVIS, himself, confessed so in his speech delivered at Augusta on the 3d inst., just prior to HOOD’s advance. He said: “Wc must beat SHERMAN; we must march into Tennessee; there we will draw from 20,000 to 30,000 to our standard, and so strengthened, we must push the enemy back to the Ohio, and thus give the peace party of the North an accretion no puny editorial can give.” The peace party must greatly grieve over the ill fortune which has be fallen the army of HOOD in its desperate effort to aid them. Their newspapers and speakers give abundant evidence of their disappointment.

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October 20, 1864: Proclamation of a day of Thanksgiving


Lincoln fixes the date of Thanksgiving as a national celebration — at least for those parts of the nation that were listening to him.


A Proclamation.

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new: sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working-men in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, he has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the, land which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

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 twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.


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

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October 20, 1864: Foraging instructions.


Instructions from one of Sherman’s foragers on how to do it properly.

Official Records:

Atlanta, Ga., October 20, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel H. W. PERKINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: In compliance with request of commanding general, I have the honor to submit the following suggestions for the consideration of commanding officers of foraging expeditions:

Upon arriving at a section of country from which sufficient forage can be obtained a defensible position should be selected to park the main portion of the train, with at least one brigade of infantry and one battery of artillery in charge for its protection and for picketing the different roads. One hundred and FIFTY wagons, in charge of a brigade of infantry and a squadron of cavalry, can be loaded and brought back to park in a day, provided that they meet with no serious opposition from the enemy. The cavalry should be used to patrol the country and report the location of the different corn-fields. Too many wagons should not be taken into the corn-fields, as they only embarrass operations, but they should be parked near at hand so that they can be moved promptly to the point required. As the corn is usually very Light, not yielding in many instances over from ten to fifteen bushels to the acre, the officer in charge should be careful in estimates as to the number of wagons required for the several fields. The troops detailed for stripping the corn should be deployed, assigning one man to carry ten rows of corn. As the corn is stripped it should be thrown into piles and the wagons should follow and load it up. Two or even one man for this purpose is sufficient. The men should keep on their equipments and sling their guns over their shoulders, so as to be ready to repel a sudden attack from the enemy. Company officers should be required to remain with their commands, and the men should under no circumstances be permitted to leave their commands to forage until their work is done.

Men not connected with their commands should not be permitted to accompany the expedition. They are usually men of the most depraved and worthless character, who accompany the expedition for the purpose of plundering private houses and committing outrages upon defenseless females. This class of men by their bad conduct bring disgrace upon the army. The commanding officer of the expedition should be authorized to shoot all men found committing these outrages. Parties sent with expeditions to forage for the different headquarters of the army should be furnished with proper passes, to be approved by the commanding officer of the expedition. The commanding officer of the expedition should have at least one company of cavalry to be used as orderlies by himself and the quartermaster in charge. An officer of the quartermaster’s department should accompany every thirty wagons, well instructed as to manner to loading his train and doubling up the same both in the road and in the field. A guard should be set on all streams to prevent teamsters from watering their mules while trains are moving. Detachments from each train should be taken every day while foraging in order to secure services of officers and wagon-masters in loading trains. The pioneer corps of the different brigades should accompany the expedition in order to repair roads.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding late Expedition.

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October 19, 1864: The purpose of Sherman’s March


Sherman explains his plans to Halleck. Hood is going to Blue Mountain, at the end of the Selma and Talladega road (surely that should be a fast road to travel). Meanwhile, Sherman will destroy the rail line from Chattanooga to Atlanta, destroy Atlanta, and then head for the sea. He’ll keep his options open so that the Confederates can’t concentrate against him. The point of Sherman’s planned march? “This movement is not purely military or strategic, but it will illustrate the vulnerability of the South.”

Official Records:

Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: At some more leisure time I will record the facts relating to Hood’s attack on my communications. He has partially succeeded from the superior mobility of is columns, moving without food or wagons. I now have him turned back and am pursuing him till he will not dare turn up Will’s Valley without having me at his rear and the Tennessee at his front. My opinion is he will go to Blue Mountain, the terminus of the Selma and Talladega road, where he and Beauregard will concoct more mischief. We must not be on the defensive, and I now consider myself authorized to execute my plan to destroy the railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, including the latter city, strike out into the heart of Georgia, and make for Charleston, Savannah, or the mounth of the Appalachicola. General Grant prefers the middle one, Savannah, and I understand you to prefer Selma and the Alabama.

I must have alternates, else, being confined to one route, the enemy might so oppose that delay and want would trouble me, but, having alternates, I can take so eccentric a course that no general can guess at my objective. Therefore, when you hear I am off have lookouts at Morris Island, S. C., Ossabaw Sound, Ga., Pensacola and Mobile Bays. I will turn up somewhere, and believe I can take Macon and Milledgeville, Augusta and Savannah, Ga., and wind up with closing the neck back of Charleston so that they will starve out.

This movement is not purely military or strategic, but it will illustrate the vulnerability of the South. They don’t know what war means, but when the rich planters of the Oconee and Savannah see their fences and corn and hogs and sheep vanish before their eyes they will have something more than a mean opinion of the “Yanks. ” Even now our poor mules laugh at the fine corn-fields, and our soldiers riot on chestnuts, sweet potatoes, pigs, chickens, &c. The poor people come to me and beg as for their lives, but my answer is, “Your friends have broken our railroads, which supplied us bountifully, and you cannot suppose our soldiers will suffer when there is abundance within reach.”

It will take ten days to finish up our road, during which I will eat out this flank and along down the Coosa, and then will rapidly put into execution the plan. In the mean time I ask that you give to General Thomas all the troops you can spare of the new levies, that he may hold the line of the Tennessee during my absence of, say, ninety days.

I am, &c.,

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October 19, 1864: Body parts

New York Times

In case you thought that grisly crimes were a modern development, here’s one from 150 years ago.

THE MYSTERIOUS MURDER.; Discovery of the Head Belonging to the Dissevered Parts A Pistol Shot Found in the Right Temple and Another under the Right Eye.

The head belonging to the trunk and limbs of the body picked up at different places along the shores of the East River and Gravesend Bay within the past three weeks, was picked up yesterday morning at Fort Hamilton, and sent to the Coroner’s office in this city. Coroner MORRIS being absent in consequence of a domestic affliction, the remains were taken in charge by Coroner BARRETT.

When found, the head was wrapped in enamelled cloth, apparently a piece of the same material in which the other parts were tied up. The cord was also the same, but there was no hardware, paper, or iron weights, as found on the other packages.
A sharp knife and saw had been used in severing the head from the body, but it was not cut as evenly as the other dissevered portions.

The evidences of murder are unmistakable. A bullet-hole was found in the right temple, and another under the right eye. The wounds were probed, and found to be about three inches in depth. Thus far, no attempt has been made to extract the balls, should they still be in the brain.

The features present the appearance of a stout, hearty, and handsome-looking man, of about 35 years of age. The hair is of a dark, chestnut brown color, inclined to curl, whiskers thick and short, with mustache of a sandy color. The complexion is light, the eyes blue. The face is well shaped — rather broad below the temples. The forehead is high, and of good width; in fact, everything about the face and head indicates that he was a man of intellect. The teeth are rather large, and in first-rate condition.

The head and features are in an excellent state of preservation — almost as fresh looking as they might have been on the day after death; and should they be seen by any one who had seen the man alive, they could be identified without any difficulty whatever.

The remains were conveyed to a daguerrean establishment, and several photographs were taken, after which, at the request of a number of citizens, Coroner BARRETT permitted the head to be exposed to view in the rotunda of the City Hall. Hundreds of persons came to see it, but no one could identify the features.

Exposure to light and air had the effect of hastening decay, and the head was conveyed to the Dead House, and placed in ice with the other remains.

All the parts of the body have now been recovered, with the exception of the upper portion of the breast, shoulders and arms. These are not indispensible to identification, now that the head has been found.

The greatest excitement was caused by the event, and some dozen ladies, all sure that it was a husband, a son, or a brother, came to examine the features.

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October 18, 1864: Hood’s not a big deal.

The New York Times reprints a dispatch from Charles Dana, explaining that Hood hasn’t really done that much damage to the railorads. Meanwhile the union cavalry has got the best of Mosby.

Maj. Gen. Dix:

Advices from Gen. SHERMAN to the evening of Oct. 16 indicate that HOOD, after having struck the railroad in the neighborhood of
Dalton and Resaca, has fallen back before SHERMAN without fighting, abandoning his great movement upon our line of communications.

He has torn up some fifteen miles of the road from Resaca, north, but the injury will be repaired without difficulty. The interruption will cause no inconvenience to SHERMAN’s army, as his stores of supplies south of the break, as well as north of it, are ample. HOOD has retreated toward the Southwest. His rear left Dalton in haste at 6 o’clock on Sunday morning.
Gen. SHERIDAN reports that the rebel army lately under EARLY, but now apparently under LONGSTREET, having appeared in the vicinity of Strasburgh, his forces moved to attack them on Saturday. CROOK, who had the advance, found the rebels drawn up in four lines of battle; but upon his charging them with his accustomed impetuosity, they broke and withdrew in considerable disorder, without giving the opportunity for any serious conflict. SHERIDAN reports them as continuing their retreat in haste far up the valley.

Col. GANSEVOORT, commanding the Thirteenth New-York Cavalry, has succeeded in surprising a rebel camp of the outlaw and freebooter MOSBY, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, capturing his artillery, consisting of four pieces, with munitions complete.

Acting Secretary of War.

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October 17, 1864: Is Sherman editing the rebel papers?

William Tecumseh Sherman

The New York Times editor is a fan of Sherman’s, apparently. Here he writes a tongue-in-cheek
piece where he speculates that Sherman must be putting his own ideas into the Confederate newspapers, as they all seem to clamor for Hood to do just exactly the things that wind up helping Sherman.

– We suspect there is more in that long, narrow, compact, Julius-Caesar head of Gen. SHERMAN than is commonly imagined. We suspect he edits half of the newspapers in the Southern Confederacy. There are very many reasons for thinking so, but our latest reason is this. It will he remembered that while SHERMAN was laying siege to Atlanta, a couple of months ago, an apparently shrewd suggestion was made by a rebel newspaper, that the Confederate cavalry should be sent north of Atlanta and into Tennessee to operate on SHERMAN’s rear. The suggestion was quickly taken up by rebel journals all over the Southern Confederacy. They demanded this action — demanded it loudly. They roared and shrieked for it, and ever louder grew the roar and shriller the shriek. The cry of “Cavalry to the rear!” resounded through the length and breadth of the South in general chorus, till finally the tympanum of JEFF. DAVIS’ ear was cracked, and his soul distracted, by the noise of the general uproar; and he ordered the cavalry of HOOD’s army to hasten to the rear and to Tennessee.

Now, of all things, this was precisely the one thing that was necessary for the success of Gen. SHERMAN, and the thing that actually secured for him the victory at Atlanta. In SHERMAN’s order to his army upon its triumphant entry into Atlanta, he says, after recounting the various obstacles and embarrassments that had stood in the way of success: “At last, the enemy made the mistake we had waited for so long, and sent his cavalry to our rear, far beyond the reach of recall.” And again, in his report of his entire campaign which we gave in the TIMES last week, he alludes to the same blunder of the enemy in sending their mounted forces northward, and says: “I could not have ask ed anything better. I renewed my orders for the movement of the whole army.”

Now, we should like to inquire of the rebels how it happened that their organs in Richmond, and subsequently all over the South, should have so astutely and vigorously played into SHERMAN’s hands, unless this “mad General” had some share in the editing of them? SHERMAN is very sharp, but the rebels are great fools. They had better look closely at the manuscript of the arguments they are now publishing in favor of HOOD pushing his whole army far up into SHERMAN’s rear.

Posted in John Bell Hood, William Tecumseh Sherman | 1 Comment

October 16, 1864: Sherman pursuing Hood, but where?

Sherman in Atlanta, 1864

It seems that Hood is heading west, though information is spotty. Sherman sums it up: ” I am pushing straight for Hood wherever he may be.”

NASHVILLE, TENN., October 16, 1864 – 10 p. m. [OR 79:310]

(Received 17th.)
Lieutenant-General GRANT:

I have information from General Sherman at Villanow. The enemy left Dalton at daylight on the 14th. The Fourth and Fourteenth Corps, having encamped the evening before at Tilton, pursued him on the road he took through Nickajack Gap, going west. The next morning Sherman, with the Army of the Tennessee, moved WEST from Resaca, through Snake Creek Gap and Villanow. I have directed Schofield to move with Morgan’s and Wagner’s DIVISION up Lookout Valley, for the purpose of intercepting Hood, should he be marching for the Tennessee, and to enable Sherman to get in his rear. News from Decatur and Rogersville indicates that the enemy’s cavalry still occupy the south bank of the Tennessee, but no signs of a disposition on his part to cross. Re-enforcements are arriving at about the rate of one regiment a day, and are being disposed of as they arrive.

(Same to Major-General Halleck.)


From [OR 79:311]

In the Field, Ship’s Gap, October 16, 1864.

General THOMAS,

Send me Davis’ and Newton’s old DIVISIONS. Re-establish the road and I will follow Hood wherever he may go. I think he will move to Blue Mountain. We can maintain our men and animals on the country,

Major-General, Commanding.


NEAR VILLANOW, GA., October [16], 1864. * [OR 79:311]

Major-General SCHOFIELD,

Dispatches received. I am pushing straight for Hood wherever he may be; do the same with whatever force you have and let us run him down. I am now on his trail and will follow it. We pushed Lee’s corps through Snake Creek Gap to-day [15th], and at Villanow I will find out where he is going to and will follow him, no matter where. Get in communication with me as soon as possible. We hold Atlanta and the road up to Resaca. The break at Big Shanty must be nearly done.



NASHVILLE, October 16, 1864 – 8. 30 a. m. [OR 79:312]

Major-General SCHOFIELD:

I wish you to ascertain to a certainty, if possible, whether Hood is moving in the direction of Bridgeport, and hold Morgan in readiness to re-enforce that place if you find the enemy moving against it. The Ninth Ohio and the Sixth Indiana have been ordered to Chattanooga and the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry is at Whiteside’s.



CHATTANOOGA, October 16, 1864 – 6 p. m. [OR 79:313]

Major-General THOMAS, Nashville:

I have just received a dispatch from General Sherman, written near Villanow. It is dated, but was probably written last night. He says:

I am pushing straight for Hood wherever he may be; do the same with whatever force you may have and let us run him down.

I propose to march with Wagner’s DIVISION up Lookout Valley to Trenton and then make for Hood wherever he may be. Please inform me whether you approve.


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October 15, 1864: Communication tough in Georgia — Where’s Hood?

John Bell Hood

The New York Times reports that Dalton was taken by Hood. Meanwhile, Thomas and Sherman are separated from each other due to the rebel attacks on the supply line. They aren’t sure what Hood is doing, though the suspicion is that he’s headed west.

CHATTANOOGA, Saturday, Oct. 15.

The reports of our scouts fail to show the pressure of any considerable body of the enemy north of Tunnel Hill. Walter and Whitfield Counties have undoubtedly been scoured by a small body of reble cavalry, which has not been very effective in destroying the railroad, though in possession of Alton, and but little damage is believed to have been done.

Officers blockaded here on their way to the front have been ordered to prepare to join their commands at once.

Gen. SCHOFIELD sent out a strong reconnoitering party to-day, to discover the where abouts of the rebel column said to be moving toward the West.

Scouts of the Forty-fourth Regiment in the garrison at Dalton, who escaped after Col. JOHNSON’s surrender, arrived here to-day. They give numerous accounts of the affair. They state that they were on picket, wanted to fight, knocked over the flag-bearer, and after the surrender they refused to stay caught.

Ringgold and the intermediate points have been strengthened by Gen. SCHOFIELD.

We have nothing definite as to SHERMAN’s whereabouts. He is known to be energetically at work to open and keep open the route to Atlanta, no matter what rebel column intervenes.

CHATTANOOGA, Saturday, Oct. 15 — 9:15 P.M.

Our forces to-day reoccupied Ringgold, and the block-house three miles in advance, and found the railroad and bridges safe. It is generally believed that Dalton, with the Forty-sixth Colored, surrendered to HOOD’s army yesterday, but nothing official is received. There is no communication yet with Gen. SHERMAN. There was an abundance of supplies at Atlanta, in anticipation of such a movement by the rebels.

Maj.-Gen. SHERMAN had arrived, and resumed command of the district. There are six months’ supplies on hand, and the officers of the-army feel that HOOD is making a movement that will certainly prove disastrous.

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