| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
ON TO ATLANTA
 When Grant took command of the United States'
armies, he put William T.
Sherman in full control of
the "Army of the West."
GEN. WILLIAM T. SHERMAN
On the day following the
one in which Grant started
out for Richmond, Sherman
began his march toward Atlanta.
"On to Atlanta!" was their watch-word, just as in Grant's army,
"On to Richmond!" was the watch-word.
I shall not try to tell you of the battle after battle in
Sherman's Great March. At Atlanta the enemy drew up
all their forces, determined that this place should be fought
for inch by inch. It was a hard, close fight, both generals
equally wise and brave; but after several days, the
Confederate general gave way, and Sherman telegraphed to
Grant, "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won."
Hood, the Confederate general wild over the loss of
Atlanta, made a desperate dash back towards Nashville,
hoping to cut off Sherman's supplies.
 Sherman was brave as a lion, but he was also wise as a
serpent. He saw at once what Hood was hoping to do.
Gen. Thomas, called by his men, "Old Reliable," saved the
city. For two days the battle raged: but twilight of the
second day saw the Confederates in full retreat. On they
went throwing away as they ran, their guns, knapsacks, all
that would hinder their flight. Our troops pursued till
darkness stopped the race. Next day the pursuit was
continued. Thomas strongly hoped to capture all Hood's
army. On this point Hood disappointed him. Gathering
his troops together, he formed now an orderly retreat, and
crossed the Tennessee with what was left of his army. The
flight had been indeed Bull Run over again; only this time
the Confederates were flying and the Unionists were pursuing.
Sherman feeling sure that Thomas would be equal to any
battle with Hood's army, had kept straight on with his
plan of marching now "from Atlanta to the sea."
His object was to destroy the railroads, and cut off the
supplies of food, clothing, powder and cannon of the Confederate
army. This seems almost cruel; but it wasn't half
so cruel, in reality, as it would have been to let the war
drag on for many months more.
Taking only twenty days' provisions, Sherman told his
men they must find their living in the country over which
they marched. The men understood what their General
 meant, and about the middle of November, while Grant was
holding Lee's army in Petersburg, Sherman started across
"from Atlanta to the Sea."
Just before Christmas, Sherman's army marched into
Savannah, and hoisted "Old Glory," as they called their
flag. At once he telegraphed to Lincoln, "I beg to
present to you as a Christmas present, the city of Savannah,
with one hundred and fifty guns, plenty of powder, and
twenty-five thousand bales of cotton."
After a long rest, which Sherman's army so greatly
needed, and which they so richly deserved, they next
moved towards Charleston. The North stood breathless
when word came that Sherman was marching towards
Charleston. Charleston! the centre of the whole secession
country! Charleston! the city that was said to be unconquerable!
But Sherman conquered it, and once more the Union flag
waved over old Fort Sumter.
And now the Union Army felt their journey was nearly
over. In a few days they would join forces with Grant's
Goldsboro' was the next place to fall upon.
Here Gen. Joseph Johnston was straining every nerve
for a final battle. It was like a drowning man catching at
a straw. He had with him, Bragg from Wilmington, Hardee from
Savannah, Beauregard from Charleston, and Wade
 Hampton, with his cavalry. The shattered remnant of
Hood's army from Nashville had joined him.
But affairs looked dark for the Southerners. Their army
in Tennessee had been broken up, Lee was held by Grant
in Virginia; Sherman had conquered Georgia and South
Carolina; if he now joined Grant, Lee's army would be
captured. The only hope was that Johnston might defeat
one or all of the armies marching on Goldsboro', and
prevent their junction with the Army of the Potomac; then
go north and help Lee drive Grant from his post near
Richmond. It was a desperate last chance, and might be successful.
A bloody battle followed, but when night fell, Sherman's
soldiers had not fallen back one inch. During the night
several fresh divisions had come and joined the Union
soldiers, making our lines now too strong to be broken.
Johnston retreated during the night and Goldsboro' was
It was not long after this that Johnston surrendered to
Sherman, knowing that since Lee had surrendered to
Grant, the war was indeed at an end. Johnston
accordingly wrote to Sherman asking that there be no further
bloodshed between their soldiers, and offering to surrender
his whole army.
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