On Leaving Atlanta: Sherman's Report; January 1, 1865

Lubliner

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SHERMAN’S REPORT
January 1, 1865

“On the same day [Nov. 14], General Slocum moved with the Twentieth Corps by Decatur and Stone Mountain, with orders to tear up the railroad from Social Circle to Madison, to burn the large and important railroad bridge across the Oconee, east of Madison,…”

“During the 2oth [Nov.] General Kilpatrick made a good feint on Macon, driving the enemy within his intrenchments, and then drew back to Griswoldville, where Walcutt’s brigade of infantry joined him to cover that flank, whilst Howard’s trains were closing up, and his men scattered, breaking up railroads.”

“General Howard was then ordered to move eastward, destroying the railroad thoroughly in his progress as far as Tennille Station…”
“General Kilpatrick was ordered to Milledgeville, and thence move rapidly eastward, to break the railroad which leads from Millen to Augusta,…”
“General Slocum was then ordered to tar up and destroy the Georgia Central Railroad, from Station 13 (Tennille) to Station 10, near the crossing of the Ogeechee-…”
“The Seventeenth Corps took up the destruction of the railroad at the Ogeechee, near Station 10, and continued it to Millen,…”

“On the 3rd​ of December the Seventeenth Corps, which I accompanied, was at Millen; the Fifteenth Corps (General Howard) was south of the Ogeechee, opposite Station 7 (Scarborough); the Twentieth Corps (General Slocum) on the Augusta Railroad, about four miles north of Millen, near Buck Head Church, and the Fourteenth Corps (General Jeff. C. Davis) in the neighborhood of Lumpkin's Station, on the Augusta Railroad…”
“All were ordered to march in the direction of Savannah----“

Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

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Notice how the words 'burn, breaking, destroyng, break, destroy, tar up, + destruction" are included in that report? I'm really surprised the word " burn" only popped up once. And what exactly does "tar up" mean?
No dissolution meant but I may have misprinted tear. as 'to tear up'; not from the eye.
Anyway the Stations along this route caught my interest. The next post will be the continuation into Savannah where six locomotives are captured. Coming upon us soon!
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Lubliner

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Sherman's report continues without mentioning destruction as it advances toward Savannah, saying;

"All the columns reached their destination on time, and continued to march on their several roads--- General Davis, following the Savannah River road; General Blair the railroad, and General Howard still south and west of the Ogeechee, with orders to cross to the east bank opposite Eden Station, or Station No. 2."

"In approaching Savannah General Slocum struck the Charleston Railroad near the bridge...; while General Howard, by his right flank had broken the Gulf railroad at
Fleming's andWay's Stations and occupied the railroad itself down to the Little Ogeechee, near Station 1; so no supplies could reach Savannah by any of its accustomed channels."

In gaining possession of Savannah, General Sherman notes the capture of the forts, heavy ordnance, and public property, as well as locomotives and cars, which he deems as of little use for the Union due to the rail infrastructure, but considers these a serious loss to the confederacy.
Lubliner.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Millen Junction, must have been December. From Harper's. ( several copies of this issue in public access )

millen-junction-fire.jpg
 

Lubliner

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Orlando M. Poe was General Sherman's Chief of Engineering for the campaign to Savannah. He reports twice on his activities and orders upon leaving Atlanta. This is what he says;

"Preparatory to the movement, General Sherman directed for me to destroy with engineer troops all railroads and property belonging thereto; all storehouses, machine shops, mills, factories, &c., within the lines of the enemy's defenses at Atlanta. The work of destruction was thoroughly done, under my personal supervision, by the Michigan engineers and Missouri engineers. About ten miles of track were destroyed by burning the wood-work and twisting each rail, the latter operation performed by a very simple machine designed by myself. The designated buildings were first burned and the walls afterward razed to the ground. For military purposes the city of Atlanta has ceased to exist, there being no railroad either to or from it."

Poe goes into a more detailed account later on saying this;

"On the 7th of November I received a telegram from General Sherman directing me to take charge of the destruction of the railroads, depots, steam machinery, &c., in the city of Atlanta....

"On the morning of the 12th General Sherman directed me to proceed with my work, but to be careful not to use fire, which would endanger other buildings than those set apart for destruction....

"These orders were faithfully carried out, and neither fire nor powder was used for destroying buildings until they had been put in ruins by battering down the walls, throwing down smokestacks, breaking up furnace arches, knocking steam machinery to pieces, and punching all boilers full of holes....

"The railroads within the limits of the old rebel defenses were destroyed by tearing up the iron, piling up the ties, and after putting the rails across them firing the wood which heated the iron and then the rails were twisted....

"The length of railroad destroyed in this manner, within the limits indicated above, was about ten miles. The depots, car-sheds, machine-shops, and water-tanks were also destroyed."

"It was not until the evening of the 15th of November that fire was applied to the heaps of rubbish we had made. I was on the ground to see the work was done in a proper and orderly manner;...But many building in the business part of the city were destroyed by lawless persons, who, by sneaking around in blind alleys, succeeded in firing many houses which it was not intended to touch."


Poe never specifies which the lawless persons were, north or south, but does not charge his engineer troops with the destruction of city dwellings.
Lubliner.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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.But many building in the business part of the city were destroyed by lawless persons, who, by sneaking around in blind alleys, succeeded in firing many houses which it was not intended to touch."

Interesting. And this isn't intended to stir anything up but has it ever been ascertained who? When you see images of Richmond in ruins, that was a fire set to destroy supplies, by retreating forces that got out of control and aided mightily by the riots. What exactly occurred in Atlanta? I'm not the biggest Sherman fan on record, nothing to do with pro-anything at all, just never subscribed to his whole ' War is H*ll ' thing, seems as if he made the most of it.
 

Lubliner

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Interesting. And this isn't intended to stir anything up but has it ever been ascertained who? When you see images of Richmond in ruins, that was a fire set to destroy supplies, by retreating forces that got out of control and aided mightily by the riots. What exactly occurred in Atlanta? I'm not the biggest Sherman fan on record, nothing to do with pro-anything at all, just never subscribed to his whole ' War is H*ll ' thing, seems as if he made the most of it.
That was the Official report of the incidental destruction of Atlanta as a military power. I really do not feel as though any citizens can be blamed, and there was a discrepancy in the report if you look at the bold letters. First he says the designated buildings were first burned. Then they were torn down (razed). But later in his second report he states the troops first razed all the arches, chimneys, walls, collected the rubbish and then burnt the remains. It was his slip of the tongue (penmanwhoopsship), not mine. I noticed about the whole Fifteenth Army Corps came through Atlanta about that time. I would say the other troops passing through and not under detailed orders than to march got mischievous. I think any journals from that vicinity whether by troops or citizens would give us a clue.
I searched (still am) for the incident of burning Millen and so far no report of destruction to the immediate town has been brought to my attention.
Thanks for your response.
Lubliner.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
Notice how the words 'burn, breaking, destroyng, break, destroy, tar up, + destruction" are included in that report? I'm really surprised the word " burn" only popped up once. And what exactly does "tar up" mean?
“Tar up” from a Southerner’s perspective is slang for getting “torn up”

As in if you “didn’t straighten up and fly right” Daddy was gonna “tar your backside up.”
i.e. Tear


Translated: If you didn’t change your actions and begin doing what was asked/expected if you, Daddy was going to have to spank you.
 

Quaama

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That was the Official report of the incidental destruction of Atlanta as a military power. I really do not feel as though any citizens can be blamed, and there was a discrepancy in the report if you look at the bold letters. First he says the designated buildings were first burned. Then they were torn down (razed). But later in his second report he states the troops first razed all the arches, chimneys, walls, collected the rubbish and then burnt the remains. It was his slip of the tongue (penmanwhoopsship), not mine. I noticed about the whole Fifteenth Army Corps came through Atlanta about that time. I would say the other troops passing through and not under detailed orders than to march got mischievous. I think any journals from that vicinity whether by troops or citizens would give us a clue.
I searched (still am) for the incident of burning Millen and so far no report of destruction to the immediate town has been brought to my attention.
Thanks for your response.
Lubliner.

Hope these links help in your search:
[1] Historical Marker; and
[2] Blog commentary.

In [1] the discussion says a member of General Sherman's staff, Major Henry Hitchcock, is quoted as referring "to the destroyed community as the "late town of Millen."
In [2] the writer says that Sherman's "left wing reaches Camp Lawton P.O.W. Camp, expecting to liberate its 10,229 Union prisoners. Instead, the camp is deserted, the men having been moved elsewhere. In retaliation, Sherman burns the town of Millen."
 

Lubliner

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Thanks, @Quaama I will look into the links. And @Georgia, welcome to the forum here. We also had an old tale, possibly from Huckleberry Finn but also accurate historically I believe, of being 'tarred and feathered and being run out on the rails'. My main recollection of it being done was to sellers of guaranteed medicine, swindlers, and the likes. The incidents of taking liberties with the 'farmers' daughters' was the shotgun filled with rocksalt or birdshot.
Lubliner.
 

Quaama

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Thanks, @Quaama I will look into the links. And @Georgia, welcome to the forum here. We also had an old tale, possibly from Huckleberry Finn but also accurate historically I believe, of being 'tarred and feathered and being run out on the rails'. My main recollection of it being done was to sellers of guaranteed medicine, swindlers, and the likes. The incidents of taking liberties with the 'farmers' daughters' was the shotgun filled with rocksalt or birdshot.
Lubliner.
When I went to school [a long time ago] Huckleberry Finn was a text we had to study, I hated it. I purchased a copy a decade or so ago and re-read it, I loved it.
I guess it just took some time and maturity to appreciate the humour in it.
 
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