Details of Sherman's March to the Sea


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 25, 1865

This site features our complete collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. This online archive provides unique perspective on the war, and is full of interesting news items and incredible illustrations. This information allows the serious student or researcher to develop a deeper understanding of the important issues leading to and resulting from the war.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Hugh McCullough

Hugh McCullough

Sherman's March

Details of Sherman's March

Slave Conscription



James Harlan

James Harlan


Keeping Secrets

Christian Commission

Christian Commission

Cardinal Wiseman

Cardinal Wiseman

Victory Parade

Victory Parade

Shenandoah Valley

General Sheridan Moving up the Shenandoah Valley










[MARCH 25, 1865.


[When Charleston was occupied by our troops the bust of John C. Calhoun, in the office of the Mercury, was dashed to the ground and broken by a female slave.]

WHAT though a prophet had pronounced the word, With solemn warnings, in the years gone by, Ere death had closed the grave Calhoun's stern eye, While yet in Senate halls his voice was heard Uplifted in defense of that great Wrong—That ancient curse whose cruel gyves and yokes, Inhuman brands and harsh inflicted strokes, Have stained the honor of our land so long—And had declared the time would soon come round When one of that oppressed and servile race Should lift the statesman's image from its place, And dash it into fragments on the ground—Who would have heeded the words been spoken ? And yet today his sculptured bust lies broken.


IT was on the 18th of February that General SHERMAN took Columbia. BEAUREGARD, who had just left that point, placed his army so as to cover the approach to Charlotte, deeming that line of greater importance to the safety of Richmond. SHERMAN, while making a strong feint in BEAUREGARD'S front, moved his main column to Camden and Florence. Intelligence which is thought to be trust worthy makes it evident that SHERMAN was, on the 1st of March, some miles north of Florence, at Cheraw, on the North Carolina border. In that case he is apparently aiming at Raleigh. There are two columns co-operating with his advance in that direction TERRY'S from Wilmington and SCHOFIELD'S from Newbern. A dispatch from General LEE to the rebel Secretary of War indicates that SCHOFIELD'S column, on the 8th, encountered the combined forces of HILL and HOKE, under General BRAGG, near Kinston. A battle was fought, in which SCHOFIELD was driven back, after having " disputed the ground obstinately," with a loss of three guns and a portion of his skirmish line taken prisoners. Kinston is 20 miles east of Goldsborough. On the 9th the enemy attacked and was severely repulsed, leaving his dead and wounded on the field, and losing several hundred prisoners. BRAGG attacked again on the 10th, and was so badly beaten that he was forced to withdraw to the north side of the Neuse. In connection with General SCHOFIELD'S command the illustrations given on page 181 of that General's head quarters at Wilmington, and of the badge of his corps, will have great interest to our readers.

A dispatch received from General SHERMAN, dated Laurel Hill, North Carolina (30 miles southwest from Fayetteville), March 8, states that he had reached that point, and that all was going on finely.

SHERMAN'S march northward from Columbia has not been rapid, which is probably due to the state of the roads. But the slower his march the more completely will he exhaust the country of food and forage absolutely indispensable to LEE'S army. The rebel journals have lately charged SHERMAN with having burned Columbia. Now, it is certainly true that the public property was burned, but if any thing else suffered it was by accident. This is proved by the fact that the houses of Generals HAMPTON and PRESTON are left standing. The Augusta Constitutionalist, a rebel organ, says that "few, if any, private residence, were entered. If any outrages were committed on ladies it is not known. The enemy were under strict discipline and orders during their march....They marched as if they had just started on their expedition, instead of having been out for weeks."

The victory of SHERIDAN over EARLY'S command, in the Valley, has been confirmed except in the single fact of the capture of EARLY himself. Eight cannon were captured, and 1300 prisoners, which have been sent to Washington. The battle took place near Waynesborough, probably on the 1st of March. SHERIDAN'S army, after the battle at Waynesborough, moved to Charlottesville, which was surrendered without a fight ; and, after two days' halt at this place, until the ammunition and pontoon trains should come up, moved in two divisions southward toward the James. The route taken by these separate columns may be traced on the map which we give on page 179. One division, under General DEVEN, took a directly southern route to Scottsville, destroying all mills, merchandise, and bridges on the line of march, and along the Rivanna River to Columbia. The other division proceeded down on the railroad to Lynchburg, destroying it as far as to Amherst a distance of over 40 miles. From Scottsville DEVEN'S division proceeded westward along the banks of the James, destroying every lock on the canal as far as to Duguldsville, 20 miles from Lynchburg. SHERIDAN dates his dispatch from Columbia on the 10th. Up to that date he had captured 14 guns. We give on page 185 an illustration of this new " ride" of PHIL SHERIDAN'S across the creeks of the Valley. He started from Winchester on the 27th of February.

In the Southwest Mobile is the prominent centre of interest. The rumors to the effect that that city was being evacuated were so far unfounded that, instead of evacuating, the rebels have for weeks been strengthening the position against a Federal attack. The citizens have been summoned to arms, and a whole batch of rebel generals have been inciting them on to a gallant defense of the city. Among these is BEAUREGARD, who is ever present at that point of the Confederacy which is slipping out of DAVIS'S hands. Like BRAGG, he has come to be recognized as a "signal of distress." There are two Federal corps, SMITH'S and GRANGER'S, operating against the city. These are under the command of General CANBY. Pascagoula is the proper base for operations against Mobile. It is not improbable, after all, that upon the approach of CANBY who will, of course, hold every line of retreat the garrison defending the city will follow the example of HARDEE at Savannah and Charleston, and march out while there is an opportunity.



MR. HUNTER'S argument in the rebel Senate is unanswerable. It leaves the rebellion utterly without the shadow of pretense. We seceded from the Federal Government, he says, because it threatened to touch slavery ; and now we propose to allow the Confederate Government to meddle with it. The arming and emancipation of the slaves, therefore, is, he contends, an abandonment of the contest. In other words although Mr. HUNTER did not put it in that form we seceded to save slavery, and now we abolish slavery to save secession.

The argument of his speech upon the grounds of the rebellion is indeed unanswerable, but the tone of it is humiliating for any intelligent human being. To vote for the bill, he says, is to abandon the principle of the contest, and to make the losses of the war mere murders. It is natural to suppose, therefore, that Mr. HUNTER will save his consistency and honor by resigning. Certainly the " honor" of a Virginian " gentleman" will not suffer him to be made the tool of traitors to a cause which he professes to regard as sacred. If the holy cause is to be abandoned, he will say, find some one else to do it. Not at all. This Virginian "gentleman" is " instructed" to betray his country, as he conceives, and he makes a wry face and obeys.

This is the kind of person who, for thirty years past, has been lecturing this country upon "honor." This is a specimen of the "gentlemen" bred in the school of JOHN C. CALHOUN.

The Richmond Enquirer, commenting upon the debate, says that slavery is dead in Virginia, but that Virginia did not arm to save slavery, but for the great principle of self government. Where, when, and how had that principle been assailed ? The election of 1860 was exactly as constitutional, nor do the rebels deny it, as that of 1856. If the latter were in obedience to the principle of self government, so was the former. Either the principle has never prevailed in our system, or it has never been contravened. If it has never prevailed, why have its hot advocates postponed their defense of it so long? If it has never been endangered, why do they fight to protect it?

Or will it be urged that by self government the Enquirer means State sovereignty? That will not help it. For two days before the same journal declared that State sovereignty had been the weakness of the cause, and was as defective in practice as it was pretty in theory.

We expose these contradictions and absurdities that the utter hollowness of every pretense of this rebellion may be understood. The London Saturday Review, which as been from the first as unscrupulous as the Richmond papers, and much more cunning than the London Times in pleading the cause of the rebels, now declares, in their dire extremity :

" The promoters of Secession were as blind as the last of the Stuarts ; but the parallel holds no farther. Instead of tamely recoiling in the face of unexpected resistance, they have, to the utmost of their material power, made good by their valor and fortitude the miscalculations of their policy ; and they have substituted for the fanciful or trivial grievances which formed the original pretext of their quarrel a practical assertion of the right of a great and heroic community to form an independent nation."

That is to say, the Saturday Review holds that any body of citizens may rise in bloody insurrection against their government without any reason whatever ; and that is the inevitable logic of any serious defense of this rebellion. American statesmen and the best English have always held that, after long and hopeless oppression, when all legal redress has failed and obviously must continue to fail, then, after due deliberation and a solemn declaration before God and man of the terrible necessity forced upon them, an oppressed people may vindicate by arms the acknowledged rights which laws neither defend nor promise to defend. This is the right of revolution according to the gravest and best of men.

On the other hand, that a body of citizens may, upon " fanciful and trivial grievances," plunge a whole nation into the horrors and sorrow of civil war for the sake of preserving the system of human slavery, is, according to the London Saturday Review, "a practical assertion of the right of a great and heroic community to form an independent nation!"

To such wretched folly are those reduced who undertake gravely to defend the most causeless and infamous rebellion in history.


THE mystery of SHERMAN'S march was imposing. Yet the silence of the rebels was most expressive. If they made eager haste to publish such stories as that of BRAGG'S victory and of WADE HAMPTON'S victory, did they not see that not to claim SHERMAN'S defeat was to concede his success? The winks and shrugs and hints of the Richmond journals were simply the grimaces of despair. " She knew that I knew that she knew," says the good lady in Cranford, and we know that the rebels know that we know that SHERMAN'S march is as yet unimpeded.

" It is the flying of a bird through the air;" "it is a huge raid ;" " the country closes up behind him ;" "he is marching to his doom:" these and other things like them were all the rebel journals had to say. Did they really suppose that bluster in Richmond would stop SHERMAN in Carolina ? Did they imagine that railing and roaring, or sneering and snuffling were valuable allies against such a man ? " He has yet to prove himself a soldier," they cried. Would they not have consulted their own honor by admitting that a man who could march from Chattanooga to Richmond by the way of Atlanta, Savannah, and South and North Carolina, shaking the " Confederacy" at every step, might have some military talent?

War is uncertain. We constantly remember it and remind our readers of it. But if SHERMAN joins GRANT, will it be conceded that he has done any thing? If Richmond is evacuated and Davis flies, will SHERMAN'S march still be a huge raid ? If this campaign shall end the substantial military effort of the rebellion, will GRANT still be only a butcher, and will SHERMAN yet have to prove himself a soldier?

When a rebellion is reduced to frantic rhetoric it will soon spend its last breath.


THE universal railway slaughter which is now taking place in this country gives occasion for a striking illustration of the pusillanimity of the American people. There is no other country in the world where such frightful daily massacres would be tolerated. But we content ourselves with a joke and a shrug, and a coroner's jury which " fully exonerates the employes on the train from all blame."

This is the verdict upon the recent wanton and awful disaster on the Camden and Amboy road. What are the facts ? A train stops upon a curve. Another train comes thundering on and crashes into it with horrible destruction of life and limb. Mr. WILLIAM EARLEY, Coroner, and six gentlemen of the neighborhood, there upon inform us that the accident resulted from a want of proper caution on the part of the switch tender at Neshaminy Bridge in not stopping the Washington train according to the orders given him by the conductor of the twelve o'clock P.M. train from Philadelphia, believing, according to the evidence given, that there was a misunderstanding on the part of said switch man as to those orders, which, in their opinion, tend to mitigate the censure which otherwise would fall upon said switch tender ; and the jury fully exonerate the employes on the train from all blame.

If the switch tender misunderstood simple orders the Company is directly responsible for the. consequences of his stupidity. But if the conductor gave them blunderingly he is the guilty agent. It is idle to talk of misunderstanding. There was no opportunity for misunderstanding. The thing to be done was to stop the other train or to switch it off; and as the conductor is by position the higher officer, the conductor of the 12 P.M. train from Philadelphia must be held responsible for not stopping the Washington train, and for the frightful results of not stopping it.

And so thoroughly subjected are the people of New Jersey by the great Camden and Amboy monopoly that they must not be surprised if such a verdict is generally regarded as an attempt to shield that monopoly from public indignation. Every citizen of New Jersey, in a matter which concerns the Camden and Amboy Railroad, is liable to suspicion until the State emancipated itself from its control. How many influential newspapers in New Jersey dare to expose the acts of that monopoly ? How many leading lawyers accept briefs against it ? How many men in public life hope to rise in face of its enmity? We know nothing of Mr. WILLIAM EARLEY, Coroner, nor do we insinuate a suspicion of his perfect rectitude ; but as he is a Jerseyman, living in the vicinity of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, and heads such a dainty verdict, it is impossible to help wondering whether the worthy Mr. EARLEY has, or has had, or hopes to have, any advantageous relations with that Company.

We speak of the Camden and Amboy accident, but the air hums with disaster upon every side. Remedies are easy if Legislatures were honest. In the State of New York, for instance, the Legislature should make every train come to a full stop at every draw bridge. It should compel the renewal of the rails at certain periods. They should have the roads constantly inspected by experts paid by the State. It should enforce a heavy fine from every Company for every accident which could not be satisfactorily proved beyond human control. By thus squeezing the pocket of every Company in the State, the Legislature would keep every railroad in good repair and save hundreds of lives.

But unless the people move by petition and besiege the Legislatures nothing will be done. Men and women will be slaughtered by scores, and after the indignation of the newspapers has expressed itself, we shall be comforted by the polite verdict that nobody was to blame, with a mild implication of censure upon the foolish brittleness of the public neck.


ON the 12th of last September General SHERMAN wrote to the Mayor of Atlanta : " War is cruelty and you can not refine it, and those who brought war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out   

Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger let it come from what quarter it may   You might as well appeal against the thunder storm as against these terrible hardships of war."

Yet WADE HAMPTON, one of the chief actors in this bloody contest which he and his fellows forced upon their country, is frantic with rage because General SHERMAN, in the absence of civil authorities, forages upon the country and orders those who murder his foragers to be shot. WADE HAMPTON does not deny this military right of forage, but he says " there is a right older even than this, and one more inalienable, the right that every man has to defend his home and to protect those that are dependent upon him."

Look at it ! WADE HAMPTON and his associates offer this nation an alternative. It must submit peaceably to destruction, or it must fight for its life. The nation chooses the latter. HAMPTON and Company light their matches and fire. They invite civil war. They begin civil war. And when civil war clutches them by the throat they cry " thief," " murderer," " barbarian," " savage," and " wild beast." To all this which flows freely from the pen of "Yours, etc., WADE HAMPTON, Lieutenant-General," the letter of General SHERMAN contains the calm and complete reply. "Personally I regret the bitter feelings engendered by this war; but they were to be expected, and I simply allege that those who struck the first blow, and made war inevitable, ought not in fairness to reproach us for the natural consequences."


"BOOT, saddle, to horse, and away!" So shouts PHILIP SHERIDAN cheerily as he swings into the saddle and rides forward with his bold and merry men. Presently his voice rings back again from far away: "I have had no opposition. Every body is bewildered by our movements. I have had no news of any kind since I left." And again: "I can not speak in too high terms of Generals MERRITT, CUSTER, and DEVEN, and the officers and men of their commands. They have waded through mud and water during this continuous rain, and are all in fine spirits and health."

This also will probably be treated as " a mere raid" by the Richmond doctors. But if a mere raid can cut " the great feeder" of the rebel capital, and if the engagements of General LEE in North Carolina prevent his attending to repairing the feeder, may not a mere raid be of rather vital importance ? Hamlet was scratched only; but Hamlet died of it. The campaign which General GRANT opened upon the first of last May is proceeding. " I shall fight it out upon this line," he said, and he is keeping his word.


WE are afraid that even COWELL can not save the rebellion. COWELL is a correspondent of the London Examiner. COWELL hears something of a proposition reported to have been made at Hampton Roads to unite the national and rebel forces in an invasion of Canada and Mexico; and Cowmen hastens to remind the Examiner that this was Mr. SEWARD'S original plan of avoiding the war ! Ah ! thinks COWELL, assisted by the London Times, if it could only be believed that the American Secretary of State is the author of this suggestion, somebody might be induced to throw an alms in the hat of a needy rebellion !

But, as we said, even COWELL will hardly succeed. The United States, France, and England are certainly not cordial friends, but they do not wish to go to war with each other. That we have been bitterly hostile to England for her hot haste in recognizing the rebels as belligerents, and maritime belligerents, is true. That we may call upon her for indemnity for the losses wrought by the rebel ships that sailed from her ports under her flag is very possible. But if we do, she will leave the question to arbitration she will not go to war about it.

That France has failed in respect for the Monroe doctrine, as generally understood, is apparent. That she chose the season of our distraction to accomplish her purpose is beyond question. But that the United States, emerging sad and weary from a wasting civil war, with a vast country to compose and a debt of three or four thousand millions of dollars to pay, would wish more drafts and more debts in order to restore Mexico to its traditional anarchy is not clear. Or that Louis NAPOLEON, to keep his balance in Mexico, would try to destroy that of the United States, just as it was righting itself, and thus invoke general war in Christendom, is less likely than that he will see such a course to be unnecessary. The United States, (Next Page)




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