He looked at me hard to discover the horns and talons of the devil


First Sergeant
Forum Host
Jul 23, 2017
Southwest Missouri

Generals Babcock, Sherman, and Major Anderson
When the army I had the honor to command from "Atlanta to the Sea" reached Savannah, the first essential step was to carry, by assault, Fort McAlister, in order to open up communication with the fleet sent in anticipation with supplies. The work was promptly and genteelly done by the Second Division of the Fifteenth Corps, commanded by General W. B. Hazen. I was watching the assault from a rice mill across the Ogeechee, but as soon as I saw the Rebel flag go down and "Old Glory "go up on the flag staff, I jumped into an oyster boat and pulled down. Reaching the McAlister plantation after dark, I was conducted to the overseer's house, where General Hazen and his officers were taking supper.

I, General Howard, and the few officers with me were invited in, an invitation promptly accepted, because we had had nothing to eat since daylight. General Hazen, who sat at the head of the (kitchen) table, remarked: "General Sherman! Major Anderson who commanded the captured garrison is now a prisoner of war out in the ' corral.' He is a gentleman. May I invite him to share our supper?"

" Of course, this is your table, and I am only your guest ; certainly bring the major in." An aide-de-camp was sent, and soon entered Major Anderson in handsome dress of approved gray, with decorations on the collar to indicate his rank. He was courteously received by General Hazen, introduced to me and the others, and shown to a seat opposite me at that (kitchen) table. He looked at me hard to discover the horns and talons of the devil, for at that time my reputation was not good at the South ; but, like myself, being hungry, he lay to on the ham, hard bread and coffee served out to us by our host. He was naturally somewhat oppressed at the thought that his post had been carried by assault, and I attempted to compliment him on his gallant defense.

In time he finished his first cup of coffee, and turned to the servant in waiting with the familiar coffee-pot, and recognized his own boy " Bob," who had been his own servant and slave two hours before in Fort McAlister. He seemed overwhelmed at the recognition, and turned to me. " General Sherman, may I speak to this individual ?"

" Certainly," I answered ; " but, Bob, remember you are now a free man ; answer the gentleman truly and politely, without fear or favor." " Bob," said Major Anderson, "is it possible that you have run away to the Yankees ?"

" Oh !" answered Bob, " I'm working for Mr. Hazen."

Here was a black man who two hours before was the slave of Major Anderson in the rebel Fort McAlister now working cheerily for wages with Mr. Hazen. We never construed a negro as a prisoner of war. Anderson, after receiving his cup of coffee from his former slave, " Bob," said : "General, it looks to me as though the game was up."

" Yes," I answered, " the game is up. Slavery is gone, and the Southern Confederacy a thing of the past."

I believe that the game was up, long before Appomattox.

(Vol 147 of the North American Review)

(side note - www.battlefields.org writes “Anderson and Hazen had been acquainted before the war, and recognized each other almost immediately amidst the fighting. Hazen writes, "As I leaped upon the parapet, the first man I saw was [Maj. Anderson]... He was lying on his back...contused by the butt of a gun. He recognized and spoke to me." According to Anderson, Hazen cried, "Get to the rear, George, and report to me later." Lt. Col. Strong, who helped capture the Confederate stronghold, wrote that, "Major Anderson, commanding the fort, fought his men right gallantly till the very last moment, and in fact never surrendered at all. The garrison was captured one man at a time, or in squads, after our troops had gained possession of the fort.")


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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
It is a great story although I'm distracted by how an assault would be ' genteelly done '. Sorry to be so far from the point of the story, it just strikes me as so odd, describing fighting as genteel?

And does General Babcock look like Hancock's brother?

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