Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

engines of modern warfare, place them un- the protection of its Capital, and thus Washder the bravest, truest, and most skillful offifington became the great center and base of cers, have every equipment perfect, and every all the Federal military operations in this department complete in all its details, and section. then leave them without rations, and in a Through the entire war the naval superivery short time the organization goes to ority of the United States gave them great pieces and ceases to exist, without even the advantage over us. In fact, we had no navy presence of a foe. Hence the importance of at all, while, on the other hand, the Federals keeping open "lines of communication,” as set at once to work building up the most they are called. speak for the unmilitary powerful pavy in the world. While this was reader, and by these lines mean those great, being done they bought up and fitted out, channels of supply by which provisions, for- as cruisers, a vast number of steamboats, age, ammunition and the thousand et ceteras and with these succeeded in closing every needed by an army, are taken from the fac- seaport of the South, and that by a blockade tories and sections where they are produced | unprecedented in the annals of the world. to forces operating in the field.

The fact is, halt' a dozen well armed steam The material of modern warfare has be- frigates could have, at any time, driven the come so heavy that it is impossible to trans- whole of them off the ocean; yet these misport it in wagons, as was done of old. Nav- erable old concerns were suffered, during the igable rivers and railroads have become ab. war, completely to isolate us from the rest of solutely essential for this purpose, and ex- the world, and inflicted an amount of damperience teaches that it is veither safe nor age that cannot be easily conceived. practicable to conduct military operations on Now, while these mere apologies for a naval a large scale, or at any great distance from force could shut up our seaports they were "the base of supply," without the aid of one inadequate for the capture of any of them, or the other. This is the reason why all our and the water in most of our Southern hargreat military operations were carried on bors being shoal, vessels of a larger class upon the banks of rivers, or along those could not enter, or operate effectively against great lines of railroad which, beginning at them. It is true some places were captured the North, extended far down into the heart by the co-operation of land forces, while of the Confederacy.

others fell into the hands of the Yankees It was evident, at the breaking out of the through the incompetency of the officers in war, that Virginia would be the theater of command; but they were never made the the principal hostile operations east of the base of any important expedition into the mountaius, and this for several reasons : interior, and the principal service rendered First, on account of its proximity to the was in affording shelter, during storms, to Federal seat of Government; secondly, its their rotten and unseaworthy blockaulers. great importance to the Confederacy; and, So long as the Army of the Potomac was thirdly, because at its Capital centered those held at bay, and Washington, and through it great lines of railroad which, connecting the Pennsylvania and New Yerk, threatened by various sections of the suuth and west, served Lee and bis gallant band, there was no danas the only door through which they could ger of any grand expedition being under· be surely entered. The Confederate Gov- taken further South, unless it bad for its obernment early became aware of the impor- ject the opening of the Mississippi, to which tance of these points, and immediately after we will presently refer. Yet, these miserathe secession of Virginia removed their Cap- ble old gunboats, and the terror they inital from Montgomery to Richmond. This spired, induced the Government to maintain step not only obviated the necessity of keep- large garrisons in all the little unimportant ing an independent army for its protection, places along the coast, thereby greatly reducbut transferred the seat of war close to the ing the effective strength of our armies in frontier, preserving thereby, as it was hoped, the field and imposing an enormous burden the interior of the Confederacy intact. It on the people. It is poor consolation to further made it necessary for the Federal know that all of this might have been avoid. Government to maintain a large force for ed, our ports kept open, and our sea-coast

protected, had we possessed even a mode to Pittsburg, and from there down the Ohio rately effective navy; but it is nevertheless and Mississippi rivers, more than a thousand true, and the shame is the greater upon miles-consuming at least double the time those who mismanaged that department. it would take the Confederates to accomplish

All the railroads leading south and west the same object. This ability to concentrate centering in Richmond, and being com- rapidly afforded so evident an advantage to manded by the army covering that city, we the army possessing it, that it needs no very can readily see why operations should bave extensive military knowledge fully to apprebeen confined to that section; while West- ciate it. It is self-evident, and hence the ern Virginia, being a mountainous and bro strenuous efforts made to keep open this line ken country, not penetrated by any impor- of communication, tant streams or intersected by railroads, I have been thus particular in describing could only become the theater of unimpor- this mountain region, which may be termed tant raids, undertaken solely for the purpose the second section in our “line of defence," of breaking up salt works, burning bridges, and in pointing out its important features, and other kindred objects. It might, how that the reader may fully understand the ever, lave proved another Switzerland, and nature of the western campaign-of which have contributed greatly to the Confederate we design more particularly to write-ond cause, but for the baseness and treachery of may comprehend the causes of its failures, its people. They chose to become the slaves and the disastrous result of those failures of the Yankee, and, as the war prugressed, upon the Confederacy. they and their operations sunk gradually Having taken a rapid glance at the geointo insignificance until near its close, when, graphical situation in the east and along the being emboldened by the success of their sea-coast, we will now turn for a moment to allies, they crept forth from out of dens and the third and last great section of our line. rocks, destroying railroads, burning private This, we find, extends from the mountains bouses and bridges, and committing other of West Virginia to the Mississippi river ; outrages, such as thieves manufactured from and it was very evident that, so soon as the traitors can alone be guilty of. Still, it was war begun, it would become the great theanecessary to keep a small Confederate force ter of active operations on this side of the in this section for the purpose of protecting Alleghanies. the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, which Looking at the map, we see, not only that would otherwise bave been exposed, at all the Mississippi separates the States of Mistimes, to the combined raids of tories and souri, West Louisiana and Texas from the Yankces. This great road, connecting, as it rest of the Confederacy, but that west of does, Richmond and Memphis, and passing that river there are no great lines of railthrough the most productive portions of roads intersecting those States from north Virginia and Tennessee, was of infinite im- to south, nor are there any rivers which portance to the Confederate Government would aid an army marching through MisA glance at the map will show that it not souri for the invasion of that country. All only constituted the great channel through rivers penetrating those States empty into which the provisions of the west found their the Mississippi below the mouth of the Ohio; way to the army in the east, and the material and consequently, so long as we held that, of war, such as ammunition, arms, cannon, they were effectually closed against the en-, etc., manufactured in Richmond, was con- emy, veyed to the west; but in case it should be Now, such being the condition of affairs, necessary, at any time, to reinforce either of we can readily see that no great army could these armies from the other witbout delay. operate west of the Mississippi, except upon For instance, suppose Island No. 10 in immi- its immediate banks, and then only so far as nent danger. A whole corps of the eastern their gunboats and transports were able to army might be dispatched, and would arrive penetrate. Consequently, by closing the there in a few days; while a body of troops river, all that portion of the Confederacy on from the Federal army, to reach the same the west bank would be free from invasion, point, would have to go to Baltimore, thence and that without the presence of any con

siderable army for its protection. This near Paducah, pass entirely across this State. would enable the South to concentrate their One, the Cumberland, after running for & whole available force in Kentucky, and pre- long distance through the very heart of Tenserve, for the maintenance of those troops, nessee, again enters Kentucky near Tompthe finest provision producing country in kins' mill, and is navigable for many miles the world. Look again at the man, and you above that point. The other river, the Tenwill see great rivers running across Arkan- nessee, after passing across the State of Tensas in every direction, and extending far nessee, penetrates into Alabama, and then into the “Indian country.” The same is the returning into the former State by Chattacase with Louisiana, the rivers of that State nooga and Knoxville, finally loses itself in penetrating into Arkansas and Texas. Now, the mountains of Southwesteru Virginia. these rivers serve as the natural bighways From Tuiscumbia to Knoxville, the Virginia down which float the products of those vast and Tennessee railroad passes within a short rich vallies through which they flow, bear- distance of this stream, and for a great poring them safely to the great storehouses of tion of the distance, follows directly along the South, New Orleans and Memplis; and its course. The river being navigable, whoin this point of view alone they were of infin- ever held it would necessarily control the ite value. But this is not all. So long as railroad--an important consideration, as will the Yankees were kept out of the Missis- presently be seen. Both of these rivers flow sippi, all that portion of territory east of the through the richest portions of these States, river, comprising in part the State of Missis- and their possession would give the enemy, sippi and West Tennessee, was also safe with his vast naval superiority, undisputed from invasion; and this would compel the possession of the whole of Kentucky and Federal army to operate in front of the lines Tennessee, and the Mississippi river as low we might adnpt, instead of having it in their down as Memphis; and at the same time power, at any time, by means of the river, would leave the Gulf States open to invasion to strike us in the rear.

from more than one point. Two railroads I think I have shown two points conclu. also cross the State of Kentucky-one from sively: First, that no hostile army could ope- Louisville, and other from Henderson, on rate successfully against the Confederacy the Obio-both uniting at Nashville, Tenwest of the Mississippi, so long as we held nessee. That the enemy would make these that river, except in Missouri, where the railroads their principal line of operations Yankee gunboats had undisputed possession was very evident, because of the possession of all the rivers; and, secondly, that these of Nashville, in case the naval expeditions States would not only be safe from invasion, were unsuccessful, would enable them to but that the Yankees would be forced to turn the defences on the Cumberland, place confine their operations to Kentucky, or that them in position to strike the Tennessee, portion of country designated as the third and, if victorious in one great battle, enable sectiou of our great line.

them to destroy the communication between It was very evident to the enemy that the Richmond and Memphis, seize the latter only way to gain or hold possession of this city, and compel the forts on the river above country was to open the river; and to this to surrender. end, solely, for a time, their whole ener Along the eastern boundary of Kentucky, gies were devoted. Their plan was com- and running across the State of Tennessee, prehensive-first, operate a combined mili- in a southwest direction, is a lofty and rugtary and naval force directly against the Con- ged range called the Cumberland Mountain. federate blockade, and at the same time This ridge separates Eastern and Western march an army across the country, occupy Tennessee, and is inaccessible to an army, a position on the river below the forts, and with its trains of wagons and artillery, exthus force either their evacuation or surren- cept, perhaps, at Cumberland Gap. This render. To prevent this, it would be veces- gap was considered, by engineers, a strong sary to occupy Kentucky. The reader will position, easily defended, and of great imsee, by again looking at the map, that two portance, as it not only covered the direct large rivers, both emptying into the Ohio railroad route to Richmond, but protected

also a rich grain growing country from the in the State, found it no longer necessary to chance of hostile incursions.

continue this disguise, and, without hesitaIt is clear that the holding of the Missis- tion, began to inaugurate a system of persesippi river was the great point at issue in the cution against those of the people who symwestern campaign, and it is equally clear pathized with the South. To escape this, and a fact that cannot be controverted that numbers of young men fled into Tennessee its loss was not only fatal to the campaign and Virginia, and cast their lot with the itself, but the very death-blow to the Con- South, and among these General Buckner, federacy.

the late commander of the home-guard. Whether this disaster was the result of Buckner was at once appointed a Brigadier the incompetency of one, or of all the com- in the Confederate army, and assigned to manding Generals of this most untortunate the command of those Kentuckians who, department, or of neglect on the part of the like bimself, had fled from their native State. Government in providing adequate means of About this time Rousseau, a citizen of defense, or whether it arose from causes over Louisville, was commissioned by the Fedewhich neither Government nor General had ral Government to raise a brigade for the control, history, perhaps, will tell to some Union service, as it was called. It still future generation. In the meantime we will served the purposes of the Yankees to blind take a glance at facts, and let the reader the people of Kentucky to their real designs, judge for himself.

and a promise was therefore made the State Thus having taken this cursory view of Government that their declared neutrality the geography of the country, to enable us should be respected. Consequently, Rousto comprehend fully the nature of the cam seau was kept on the Indiana side of the paigns we are about to describe, we will now river, as Lincoln was not yet prepared to turn, without further delay, to active opera- throw off the mask. As soon, however, as tions transpiring in the field.

he became satisfied of the temper of the At the beginning of the war, in 1861, Ken- State, the Federal troops were ordered to tucky, through her Governor, (Magoffin) cross the Ohio, and march at once into the promptly refused to respond to the call made interior of the State. Anticipating this moveby the Federal Government for troops for the ment, Buckner had occupied Bowling Green, purpose of crushing the rebellion, as they on the Louisville and Nashville railroad, diswere pleased to term it. Being a slave State, tant about thirty miles from the Tennessee it was believed that her sympathies were line. This was considered a strong point, with her sisters of the South, but in this the and directly on that great line of defense Confederacy was wofully mistaken. It is inaugurated in this department a little later true that after the election of Lincoln her in the campaign. The step, however, served Legislature had adopted a resolution declar- the Federal Government as a pretext for ing that in the coming contest Kentucky raising a great outcry against what they would observe a state of strict neutrality were pleased to term a flagrant violation between the hostile sections; and, for the of the neutrality of that State;" wbile, in purpose of enforcing this resolution, a home fact, it was but anticipating the Yankees guard, as it was called, was organized and themselves in the occupation of a position placed under command of a gallant ex- which, at this early stage, they considered United States army officer, General Buckner. highly important to their future operations. But this resolution of neutrality was coupled On the 4th of September, 1861, General with another reiterating the devotion of the Polk, with two divisions, took possession of people to the Union; and in a very short Columbus, Kentucky. This is a small place time, under the pretence that neither Buck on the Mississippi, but a short distance bener or his men were true to the State, the low the mouth of the river, and was believed organization was disbanded, and active steps to possess the requisite advantages for maktaken to disarm its individual members. Ating it the point at which to begin the blockthe election next following the secession of ade of the river. General Polk found the the Gulf States, the Black Republicans, hav- | Yankees already occupying the opposite ing obtained possession of most of the offices bank, with their guns trained upon the vil

[ocr errors]

lage, from which many of the inhabitants this was so, and the fact that he did not dis-
bad fled in terror. The Yankees were also cover his error, is evidence that his investi-
occupying Paducah, Cairo and New Madrid, gations were not very thorougle.
and, from the preparations making, their I have spoken more particularly of this
designs were very evident. From Haskins' first effort to penetrate into Tennessee, as it
Cross Roads they were also threatening was the beginning of that great invasion
East Tennessee, by way of Cumberland which ended in the march of Sherman to the
Gap, and this, no doubt, for the purpose of sea. Schoepff's in unsion terminated most
destroying the Virginia and East Tennessee ingloriously, and Sherman would probably
Railroad, and thus breaking the connection bave rivaled him in that respect had the
between Memphis and the East. For the proper steps been taken.
purpose of repelling this and similar raids, Toward the end of August, 1861, Colonel
Brig. Gen. Zollicoffer was sent, with a small | Albert Sidney Johnson, of the United States
force, to occupy the passes through the army, having resigned his commission in the
mountain, and to fortify Cumberland Gap, Federal service, tendered his services to the
which, as we have seen, is the door from Contederacy, was appointed General in the
that direction into East Tennessee.

regular army, and assigned to the command
Zollicoffer, on entering Kentucky, tele- of the Department of the Mississippi. Gen.
graphed Gov. Magoffin offering to withdraw Johnson was a soldier of high reputation, a
from the State if the Federal troops would distinguished graduate of West Point, and
do the same. Instead, however, of acced- had recently commanded the far-famed Utah
ing to this request, and cvincing thereby at expedition, in which, by a combined exer-
least a show of respect for the neutrality cise of skill and discretion, he had obtained
about which they had said so much, the Fed- a bloodless victory over the followers of the
erals set about making preparations for at many-wiced Brigham. As a Colonel of Texas
tack-assembling for this purpose a camp volunteers he had also served with distinc-
at Barboursville, a small place on the Cum- tion during the Mexican war, and brought to
berland. But before their preparations were his new command a robust constitution, an
completed, Zollicoffer made a dash upon energetic spirit, and an amount of actual ex-
them, breaking up their camp, and driving perience in the field possessed by few of our
them back in utter confusion. Soon, how- commanding officers.
ever, a much larger force was assembled for Upon assuming command, he found the
the purpose oi driving him from the posi- Confederate troops in Kentucky disposed as
tion he had taken. This force consisted of tollows: Zollicofter holding the pass at Cum-
Yankees, Western men, and renegade Ken- berland Gap-this was the extremne right
tuckians, and was placed under command of wing of the army ; the center, under Buck-
one Schoepff, wbo had, by some means, ob- ner, occupied Bowling Green, and was hold-
tained the rank of Brigadier in the Yankee ing the Louisville and Nashville railroad;
army. Schoepff marched boldly in the di- while the left, under Polk, rested upon the
rection of the “rebel invaders,” but before Mississippi at Columbus. Gen. Polk had,
getting within either sight or hearing of immediately upon occupying this place, set
them, concluded that “discretion was the about fortifying his position, and had erect-
better part of valor," and commenced beated a number of works for the purpose of
ing a hasty retreat. So hasty, indeed, was holding the river. In the meantime every
his retrograde movement, that it soon degen- shipyard and workshop along the upper
erated into a regular rout, in which he lost Mississippi and the Ohio resounded with
guns, arms, ammunition wagons, and sup- those stupendous preparations, both milita-
plies--in fact, everything but honor, and ry and naval, which tinally resulted in plac-
might have lost that, had such a thing been ing the whole of the Western waters under
in the keeping of any one among that motley Federal control.
crew. In extenuation of this most disgrace Before General Polk had completed his
ful flight, Schoepff urged his belief that Har- works, General U. S. Grant occupied Bel.
dee was flanking him. But it does not ap- mont, on the Missouri side of the river, and
pear that he took any pains to ascertain if I begun rapidly reinforcing from Cairo, where

[ocr errors]
« iepriekšējāTurpināt »