August 29, 1864: Sherman’s troops destroying railroads

William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman’s men are carrying out their orders with considerable gusto, apparently — tearing up rails, heating and twisting them, burning the ties, filling in the cuts. Hood’s going to have to come out of his defenses to challenge them.


HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Red Oak, August 29, 1864-9 p. m.
Brigadier-General WHIPPLE,
Chief of Staff:

The occupation of the troops of this corps to-day consisted in adjusting and barricading the lines occupied by the corps last evening, and in breaking up the railroad toward East Point. The latter was done by Brigadier General T. J. Wood with two brigades, Post’s and Knefler’s, of his division, and Taylor’s brigade, of Kimball’s division. In conjunction with General Carlin’s division General Wood thoroughly destroyed the railroad three miles in advance of our lines. We met only a few cavalry skirmishers. As, from information received from citizens and contrabands, the point reached by the working party was two miles and a half from the rebel lines, it was not deemed advisable to push farther forward. Three men of Kimball’s division, who had a pass to go out for roasting-ears, to keep behind the force on the railroad, were captured by the enemy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. S. STANLEY,
Major-General.

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HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

August 29, 1864.
Captain A. C. MC CLURG,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Fourteenth Army Corps:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report to the general commanding the corps that his instructions concerning the destruction of the railroad have been executed. It is thoroughly destroyed for at least two miles above my camp, about half a mile having been destroyed by General Wood’s division, Fourth Corps. The cavalry pickets of the enemy were driven back a mile, when a considerable force was met in fortifications. This was as far as prudence would permit me to go with one brigade. The railroad thus embraced within our lines was as much as two brigades could destroy by 2 p. m. to-day, when I withdrew the whole force, the men being much fatigued.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. P. CARLIN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Shadna Church, on West Point Railroad, Ga., August 29, 1864.
Major General JOHN A. LOGAN, Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs me to state that Brigadier-General Ransom has been ordered to proceed with his command along the railroad to Fairburn, for the purpose of destroying the road. He directs that you make the destruction of the railroad within your lines thorough and complete by being and twisting every rail, rendering it totally unfit for further use, burning every tie, and filling up the cuts with logs, stones, and earth-in short making a complete annihilation of the road.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAML. L. TAGGART,
Assistant Adjutant-General.
(Same to General Blair, commanding Seventeenth Army Corps.)

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HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Near Shadna Church, August 29, 1864.
Colonel A. J. ALEXANDER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Seventeenth Army Corps:

I have the honor to report that my command destroyed road as follows: First Brigade, 420 yards, ties burned, rails doubled; Second Brigade, 200 yards, ties all burned, rails all broken; Third Brigade, 270 yards, ties burned, rails doubled; total, 890 yards. In addition the cuts in rear of my line are being rapidly filled with brush and earth mixed. The destruction is complete.

I am, colonel, very truly, yours,
CHAS. R. WOODS,
Brigadier-General.

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