Slike strani

served to keep our troops constantly on the alert, and subjected them to considerable annoyance, without permitting the accomplishment of any great result. In all cases, the roving bands of the enemy were met, checked and driven back, and their incursions rendered ineffectual. The people of Kentucky were made secure and General Rosecrans's communications were not interrupted for a day.

On the 27th of April, the War Department issued an order, directing "that the troops in Kentucky not belonging to the Ninth Army Corps, be organized into the twenty-third army corps, to be commanded by Major General G. L. Hartsuff." Measures were immediately taken to carry this order into effect, and on the 22d of May, General Burnside had completed the organization of the force, and the twenty-third army corpscomposed of troops from Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan-came into existence as a constituent part of the Army of the Ohio. With the two corps, it was hoped that the contemplated movement upon East Tennessee might be made. General Burnside had repeatedly asked that General Getty's division should be sent out to him to fill up the Ninth Corps to its complement, but the request had been as repeatedly evaded or refused. With the two divisions, therefore, under General Willcox and the twenty-third corps under General Hartsuff, hastily organized as the latter had been, the enterprise must be undertaken. General Burnside submitted to General Rosecrans a plan for a coöperative movement upon East Tennessee. With the advice of General Thomas it was accepted and preparations were accordingly made by the two commanders. The troops were properly concentrated for the movement, and on the 2d day of June, General Burnside left his headquarters at Cincinnati, and proceeded to Lexington to take the field. The time was ripe for the operation, and officers and men were eager for the service. The Ninth Corps, strengthened by a division under General Carter, was to march directly into East Tennessee by way of Monticello. General Hartsuff was to follow in support. General Rosecrans was to advance upon Chattanooga.

[ocr errors]




HE Ninth Corps was not to have the honor of expelling the foe from the beautiful region which he had so long oppressed. On the very eve of marching, the destination was changed, and a more arduous duty was demanded. The deliverance of East Tennessee must be postponed. A more imperative necessity existed. A more important enterprise must first be brought to a successful conclusion. Just before leaving Cincinnati General Burnside had received a despatch from Washington inquiring if any troops could be spared from the Department of the Ohio to assist General Grant in the siege of Vicksburg. The despatch seemed ominous. Preparations were made for any exigency. Baggage of officers and men was cut down to the lowest amount, and nothing was wanting but the order to move. The order came, reaching General Burnside at Lexington on the 3d of June. General Grant must be reënforced with eight thousand men. It was like cutting off General Burnside's right arm. But it was obeyed on the instant. On the 4th, the Ninth Corps, with General Parke in command, was put en route for Vicksburg. The 12th Rhode Island, Colonel George H. Browne, did not accompany the Corps in its Mississippi campaign. This regiment was raised. for nine months' service, and joined the Corps a short time previous to the battle of Fredericksburg, where Colonel Browne distinguished himself for his gallantry and the regiment suffered severely. It went west with the Corps, but as the expiration of its term of service was at hand, it was retained in Kentucky for a time and was at Cincinnati for a few days dur

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ing the Morgan raid. By its services at Somerset, Jamestown and other parts of Kentucky, it won for itself a good reputation for all soldierly qualities. General Burnside desired to accompany his forces, but General Halleck would not consent to his departure, deeming his presence in the Department of the first importance. Accordingly, General Burnside remained behind, parting with his companions in arms with unaffected regret. He had the satisfaction of receiving, on the 7th, from Secretary Stanton the following despatch: "You will accept the thanks of the President and Vice President, for your alacrity and promptness in sending forward reënforcements to General Grant."

The Corps left Crab Orchard and vicinity, where it had been concentrated for the march upon East Tennessee, on the 4th of June, and bivouacked that night at Camp Dick Robinson. On the 5th, the march was resumed for Nicolasville, where the troops took cars for Covington. They proceeded thence by rail on the 5th towards Cairo. All along the route, they were welcomed by the people with every manifestation of interest and cordiality. Flags were waved, cheers filled the air, good wishes were uttered on every side. The Ninth Corps had come to be known and regarded throughout the Department, with the warmest sentiments of respect and admiration. On the 9th, the Corps arrived at Cairo, and left in steamers on the 10th for Memphis. It reached Memphis on the 11th, left there on the 12th, and on the 14th General Parke reported with his entire command to General Grant. On the 15th the troops were all disembarked at Sherman's Landing nearly opposite Vicksburg, and on the following day they were ordered to move down the river to a point opposite Warrenton. A portion of the Corps had started upon the march, when the order was countermanded, and a new point designated as the object of the movement. On the 17th, the men were again embarked, transported up the Yazoo River, and landed at Haines's Bluff. The Corps went into camp about two miles from the landing.

General Grant had been persistently carrying on the siege of

[ocr errors]

Vicksburg since the 22d of May. With that remarkable tenacity of purpose, and skill in the management of armies, which has made him the first soldier of the war for the Union, the Commander of our forces in that quarter had been more and more closely investing the enemy's stronghold. General Pemberton, who was in command of the post, had been doing all that was possible to avert the impending disaster. There was no help for him except what might arise from a movement upon General Grant's rear, by forces detached from the other armies of the enemy. General Jos. E. Johnston had been assigned to the work of raising the siege of Vicksburg, by an attempt upon our lines from the interior of Mississippi. To check any such attempt and to prevent any movement designed by the enemy for the relief of the beleaguered garrison, the Ninth Corps, with other troops, was posted at Haines's Bluff. The duty was more of observation than of direct contact with the enemy. It was General Johnston's part to take the aggressive. But this he declined and our forces had a fortnight of comparative quiet. The only incident which broke the monotony of camp life was a reconnaissance made on the 25th by the 6th New Hampshire and 7th Rhode Island, under command of Colonel S. Z. Griffin. The enemy was found quietly but vigilantly on the watch, and the troops returned to camp. The time was occupied in throwing up defensive works, to render General Grant's rear perfectly secure. Two intrenched lines were formed. The first extended along Oak Ridge, guarding the roads across the Big Black river. The second in rear of the first, extending from Haines's and Snyder's Bluffs, through Milldale and along the high ground east of Vicksburg, commanding all the approaches from the North and East.

General Johnston was thus foiled, and the enemy was doomed. On the 4th of July, General Pemberton surrendered his post with its garrison of thirty-seven thousand officers and men, arms and munitions of war sufficient for an army of sixty thousand, cannon, locomotives, cars, steamboats, cotton and other public property. By a happy coincidence, the Army of the

Potomac, under General Meade, who had superseded General Hooker in command, achieved on the same day a signal victory over General Lee at Gettysburg, and thus the victorious cannon peals of East and West proclaimed the declining fortunes of the rebellion.

[ocr errors]

Immediately upon hearing the intelligence of Pemberton's surrender, General Johnston fell back from his advanced position upon the Big Black, and retired towards Jackson. General Sherman, with the Ninth Corps to which was assigned General Smith's division of the sixteenth, his own corps and other forces, under command of Generals Steele and Ord, started in pursuit of the retreating enemy on the afternoon of the day of the surrender. The first division of the Ninth Corps was then under command of Brigadier General Thomas Welsh,* the second under that of General Potter. The command left camp towards nightfall on the 4th, and moved out towards the Big Black river, intending to cross at Jones's Ford and Birdsong's Ferry. On reaching the river, the enemy was found in force on the opposite bank, disposed to hinder the progress of the march. The configuration of the land and the heavy timber which covered it enabled him with a small force to check our advance, until the evening of the 5th, when an examination of the ford disclosed the fact that bridges would be necessary to cross the troops. A lodgement was effected on the opposite bank, and by constant exertions a bridge was constructed at Birdsong's by the men of Colonel Bowman's brigade† of the first division. During the afternoon and night of the 7th, the corps, with its supply trains and baggage, was safely got across. The ferry boat, which had been disabled by the enemy and sunk, was found, raised, put in order and used for transporting the division of General Smith. Colonel Griffin's


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

*Colonel Welsh of the 48th Pennsylvania had been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on the 13th of March. General Welsh had relieved General Willcox who had been assigned to command the District of Indiana.

†The brigade consisted of the 36th Massachusetts, 45th Pennsylvania, 17th and 27th Michigan.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »