Today in History:

1310 Series I Volume XLVII-II Serial 99 - Columbia Part II

Page 1310 Chapter LIX] OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA.

soon as he had collected supplies in depot for a forward movement. Absentees were rapidly returning to the army when he assumed command. Several thousand men had joined their regiments within the twenty days immediately preceding his arrival at Dalton. Troops were withdrawn from Charleston, savannah, and Mobile to aid him. The main army of Albana and Mississippi, under General Polk, was placed at his disposal. Cavalry was returned from east Tennessee to assist him.

General Johnston made no attempt to advance. As soon as be assumed command he suggested deficiencies and difficultis to be encountered in an offensive movement, which he declard himself unable to overcome. The enemy commenced advancing in May, and General Johnston began retreating. His retreat was not marked by any general engagement, nor does he appear to have attempted to cut off any portion or detachment of the enemy while they were marching arond his flanks. Little fighting was done by his army, except when attacked in intrenchments. His course in abandoning a lrge extent of country abounding in supplies, and offering from its mountainous character admirale facilities for defense, so disheartened and demoralized the army that he himself announced by telegram large losses from straggling and desertion. At Allatoona, his position being asmost impregnable, the enemy were compelled to make extensive flank movements which exposed them to attack; but they were allowed by General Johnston, who had marched out of his intrenchments, to interpose themselves between him and the ridge without receiving any assault upon their lengthened and exposed flank. He was thus maneuvered out of a most formidable position with slight loos to the enemy. By a repetition of a similar course he was driven, without any apparent capacity to help himself, through an entire district of mountain passes and defiles, and across rivers until he was final suburbs of Atlanta.

No information was sent to me which tended to dispel the apprehension then generally expressed that Atlanta also was to be abandoned when seriously threatened. Some of those who had most earnestly urged General Johnston's assignment to the command of the army when it was at Dalton now with equal earnestness presed his prompt removal. The consequences of chanping a commander in the midst of a campaign were regarded to be so embarrassing that, even when it was considered by others too plainly necessary for foubt or dealy, I preferred, by direct inquiry of General Johnston, to obtain that which had been too long withheld-his plan for future operations. A telegram was sent to him insisting on a statement of his purpose, so as to enable me to anticipate events. His reply showed that he intended leaving the intrenchments of Atlanta under the guard of the Georgia militia, and moving out with his army into the field. This was regarded as conclusive that Atlanta was also to be given up without a battle, and I could perceive no ground for hoping that General Johnston, who had failed to check the enemy's march from Dalton to Atlanta, through a country abounding in strong position for defense, would be able to prevent the further advance through a level country to Macon, and the consequent severance of the Confederacy by a line passing thourgh the middle of Georgia. He was therefore reheved. If I had been slow to consent to his assignment to that command, I was at least equally slow to agree to his removal.

I could not discover between the forces of General Johnston and General Sherman any such disparity as was alleged, nor do I believe that our army in any military department since the behinning of the war has been so nearly equal in numbers with the enemy as in this last

Page 1310 Chapter LIX] OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA.