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to the parties in pursuit. Occasionally, the militia showed signs of faltering and fear, but, in general, they were very prompt and effective.
General Scammon, whom we have already seen at South Mountain and Antietam, was now in command in West Virginia, and kept his command well posted to prevent the escape of Morgan. The naval forces did incalculable service. Lieutenant Commander Fitch, with the few boats which he had for a nucleus, organized an impromptu squadron, and, placing a gun or two and a few men on every boat that he could use, succeeded in guarding the river most thoroughly, and in thwarting every attempt of the enemy to cross into Kentucky or West Virginia. The battle of Buffington Island and Chester was doubtless the crisis of the pursuit, and in this affair, our land and naval forces were equally conspicuous and gained an equal glory. In fine, all the subordinate officers, and men were zealous, energetic and faithful in the discharge of every duty. But the guiding mind of the pursuit was that of the commander of the Department. From the first rupture of his lines until the capture of Morgan, he was on the alert, active in disposing his forces, in furnishing fresh relays of horses and men, in pushing on the pursuit, in arranging his river guards, in corresponding with the authorities along the route of the guerilla chief, in communicating with the commanding officers of the neighboring Departments, in warning, encouraging and impelling all whom he could reach. Though suffering at the time from an illness which was peculiarly enervating, his energies seemed inexhaustible. So effectual were the measures which were adopted and executed, as to confine the track of the rebel raider to the belt of counties lying along the river bank, and at last to bring his expedition to a most disgraceful end. Very few of those who first crossed the Cumberland with high and hopeful hearts, succeeded in returning to the enemy's lines. Many of them were killed and disabled. Most of their plunder was recaptured. No expedition of the kind
on either side during the war was so effectually and completely brought to nought. The capture of the rebel partizan and his men was an exploit for which General Burnside, his subordinate officers and his troops well deserved the thanks of their countrymen, for their vigilance, persistence and fidelity.
OVER THE MOUNTAINS.
TOR East Tennessee at last! The raid of General Morgan
had somewhat disturbed the plans of General Burnside, but immediately upon its defeat and conclusion, the campaign against the enemy in Knoxville was commenced. General Burnside had hoped that, upon the fall of Vicksburg, the Ninth Corps would be ordered back to the Department of the Ohio. Such had been the repeated promise of the authorities at Washington. But, as has already been perceived, the promise could not well be fulfilled, while General Grant needed the services of the corps to operate against the forces of General Johnston. It is true that the movement upon Jackson resulted in little except to inflict great losses upon our troops in the diseases which were caused by the rapid marches of the campaign. But, as it was thought necessary to place the safety of Vicksburg beyond even the shadow of a doubt, our officers and men acquiesced in the operations with a steadfast loyalty, and endured the terrible hardships of the campaign with a heroic patience. Before the arrival of the Ninth Corps in Kentucky, the movement over the mountains had been arranged, and actually commenced. But even if this had not been the case, the troops were in no suitable condition to join the advancing columns. They required rest and recuperation. General Burnside must accomplish his great task without the aid, at first, of the tried and bronzed veterans who had proved their valor, devotion and patriotism on so many ensanguined fields. It was with the troops of the twenty-third corps, reinforced by some fresh levies made in Kentucky, East Tennessee itself,
and the States North of the Ohio, that the advance was to be made. The troops of the Ninth, as fast as they arrived, were brought down towards the frontier and distributed at the proper points, that they might be sent forward as reënforcements when their presence was required.
From the commencement of the war, East Tennessee had been a prominent point in the calculations and plans of both the contending parties. Its occupation was a matter of prime importance. Lying in the valley of the Tennessee and Holston rivers, between the lofty and difficult range of the Cumberland mountains on the north and west, and the Blue Ridge, with its outlying spurs and ranges composed of the Stone, Bald, Smoky and Iron mountains on the south and east, it was easily defensible by the rebels, while it contained the great line of communication between their left and right flanks—the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. While this road remained intact, there was an unbroken and continuous connection between the two grand armies of the enemy, under General Bragg in the West and General Lee in the East. In the rear of the railroad lay the comparatively prosperous communities of the interior of the Gulf States and the Carolinas, as yet unvisited by the devastations of the war.
East Tennessee was also the home of a most loyal community. All the best and leading men in the district were firm supporters of the Federal Government, and a large majority of the people were prompt to follow their guidance. But the peculiar position of the country, isolated as it was from the North, and held by the large armies of the rebel “ Confederacy,” placed these loyal men at the mercy of their inveterate foes. Some were driven off, and compelled as refugees to procure a precarious subsistence from their Northern allies. Some were imprisoned and maltreated in the most barbarous and cruel
Some were tortured, others murdered, and others hung by the rebel authorities and their cruel subordinates. The history of this unfortunate war contains no sadder chapters than those which narrate the atrocities that were inflicted upon
the loyal people of East Tennessee. Whether the authorities at Richmond were responsible for these dreadful wrongs, or the officers in immediate command, acting under the influence of their brief authority, were disposed to allow their personal hatreds full exercise, the fact remains clear and indisputable. No people were so mercilessly treated as these. No region became the scene of so much horror. Yet, amidst all their calamities and wrongs, the East Tennesseeans preserved their loyalty unshaken, and looked eagerly forward to the time when the advancing armies of the Union should give them their deliverance, and their opportunity for revenge.
The succor of these unfortunate victims of rebel rage, no less than the rupture of the rebel lines, had long engaged the attention of the government. The occupation of East Tennessee by the Union armies would at once deliver the loyalists there, and would deal a staggering blow to the insurgent power. would in effect become a bisection of the “ Confederacy,” and would be a necessary preliminary to the triumphant advance of the national flag through all parts of the South. Were East Tennessee regained and permanently held, the result of the war would be no longer doubtful. The success of the Union would be placed beyond a question. The work of opening this region devolved upon General Burnside and General Rosecrans. To the former was given the task of proceeding directly into East Tennessee ; to the latter that of marching on to Chatanooga, demonstrating towards Atlanta. General Rosecrans, during the summer, had pushed his lines forward as far as Winchester and the banks of the Elk river, and there made further preparations for prosecuting his campaign. On the 16th of August, he advanced across the Cumberland mountains, reached the Tennessee river on the 20th, established his headquarters at Stevenson, Alabama, and prepared for a further advance. On the 9th of September, General Crittenden's corps of his army occupied Chatanooga, and pressed forward in pursuit of the retreating enemy.
Meanwhile, General Burnside had rapidly performed his por