Canon Thundering All Day ~ December 1864 ~ 15th and 16th

Cannon Thundering All Day

In a two day battle at Nashville, the Confederate forces suffer a major defeat with heavy losses resulting in yet another Southern army virtually out of action from now onward. Savannah is about to fall to Sherman’s Federals. Atlanta tries to return to normal but chaos rules in parts of Georgia. Abolitionists see the dawn of a new day coming.

Battle of Nashville

Battle of Nashville

December 15– Thursday– Charleston, South Carolina– “We have no very full budget of intelligence from Savannah. Sherman seems, for the present, to have abandoned the direct attack on the city, and appears to be turning his attention to the reduction of the outworks. We regret to announce the fall of Fort Mc Alister. That post was carried early yesterday morning by assault, in which a heavy column of Sherman’s best troops participated. It is believed that the enemy will next make a desperate effort to gain possession of Genesis Point. The news given above is perfectly authentic; but we have heard no details of the assault or of the casualties. Along the line of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad all continues quiet.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

December 15– Thursday– Augusta, Georgia– “Many of the old citizens [of Atlanta] are returning, and the general watchword is repair and rebuild. Whit Anderson has opened a bar-room on Decatur Street, where he serves his customers with dignity and grace, and Sid Holland a small grocery on Peachtree Street. The [Atlanta] Intelligencer has returned, and is now issuing an extra from the old shoe factory on Alabama Street. J. J. Toon has secured the old pay office on Whitehall Street for an office, and resides in Markham’s fine villa on Walton Street. The post office is open on Decatur Street, under the charge of the energetic Dick Wall, and Bob Yancey has his shaving emporium next door. Johnson Bridwell has started a salt factory. Colonel L. J. Glenn, the efficient commandant of the post, is considered the right man in the right place. He is courteous to all, yet rigidly attentive to the interests of the government and the people. The Macon & Western Railroad is running to Lovejoy’s Station and the Atlanta & La Grange Railroad to Palmetto. The city is filled with thousands of dogs and cats, ownerless and almost wild.” ~ Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel.

damage in Atlanta

damage in Atlanta

December 15– Thursday– outside Savannah, Georgia– “We have changed positions several times since arriving in front of Savannah; we are now between the Charleston & Savannah and the Central Railroads. On the right, there is also a turnpike running along the railroad. On these roads the rebels have a very strong fort, mounted with heavy guns; they throw spherical case loaded with balls two inches in diameter from time to time. Quite a number of the balls and pieces of shell have come into our camp, but no one has been hurt. We have strong breastworks, which afford us protection. Just after we came here, I became the owner of a beautiful black mare in a rather peculiar manner. I rode out on the right a ways to see about our connection with the 14th Corps, when I was met by three soldiers, two of them mounted on mules and one on the mare in question. The latter stopped and said, ‘Say, I would like to give you a first-rate blooded mare.’ I looked at him in surprise and asked him what I should give him for her; but he said, ‘I just want to give her to you; I have been detailed on cattle guard and rode her so far; she is a captured horse, unfit for Government use, and I have no forage and want to give her to some one who will take good care of her.’ He was an utter stranger to me. Of course, I took the mare and promised to take good care of her. On the river here is a group of beautiful live oak trees; the trunks are very thick, and the branches extend out in all directions. The trees form a grove with a continuous roof. I don’t know whether the fleet has landed yet. There were obstructions in the river which had to be removed first.” ~ Letter from Union officer Frederick C. Winkler to his wife Frances.

December 16– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The American Anti Slavery Society was organized for the immediate and total abolition of slavery in the United States. Its labors have been prosecuted, ‘without compromise and without concealment,’ for a period of thirty years, through lecturing agencies, the printing and circulating of anti-slavery publications, the support of an official weekly organ, and other instrumentalities; and to these labors is largely due, primarily, that cheering and marvelous change in public sentiment, in opposition to slavery and in support of free institutions, which has taken place in all the loyal States, and which enables the Government to maintain successfully its tremendous conflict with the Southern Slaveholder Rebellion. But slavery is not yet abolished, even the Rebel States, except by the Proclamation of President Lincoln; and it still holds a tenacious existence even in some of the so-called loyal sections of the country. Not until its utter extirpation everywhere should the American Anti-Slavery Society be disbanded, or regard its mission as consummated, or be left without the necessary pecuniary aid to carry on its ordinary operations. Its time to dissolve will be when liberty is proclaimed throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof, by the proposed amendment of the Constitution of the United States, making it illegal to enslave any person on the American soil. That grand and glorious event, it is confidently hoped and believed, will take place during the coming year, inasmuch as the potential sentiment of the people in regard to it was indicated by an overwhelming majority at the late Presidential election, and in as much as President Lincoln, in his annual message to Congress, urges this constitutional amendment upon that body for speedy adoption. Thank God that the year 1865 is, in all probability, to be the long-desired Year of Jubilee! Once more, then– and we trust for the last time– let the treasury of the American Anti-Slavery Society be replenished by the generous donations and contributions of those who have so long given it their maintenance; and also of those who, regenerated in their views and feelings on the question of slavery, have yet to show their appreciation of the invaluable labors of the Society in disseminating light and knowledge quickening conscience, elevating the moral standard of individual and national conduct, and vindicating the rights of human nature on the broad platform of universal freedom and equality.” ~ The Liberator.

Amer Anti-slav-WTH86TDP

December 16– Friday– Washington, D.C.– “Stanton came in this morning to tell me he had just got a telegram from General Thomas, announcing the defeat and annihilation of Hood’s army. Present indications are an early closing of the Rebellion. If we have tolerable success the next ten days, they will have no formidable army but Lee’s at Richmond. . . . Preston King dined with me to-day. Had a couple of hours’ very agreeable conversation with him. He is a man of wonderful sagacity; has an excellent mind and judgment. Our views correspond on most questions. On the suppression of the Rebellion, on the rights of the States, on the reestablishment of the Union, on the extinguishment of slavery, there was entire concurrence of opinion. I did not doubt our agreement on these points before we met. I had touched on them with some others and found great bewilderment. There is, I think, no man in the Cabinet but Dennison who agrees with me on the subject of State rights. . . . We have intelligence of the release of the robbers and murderers who fled into Canada after their work at St. Albans [Vermont]. The Governor-General and the Canadian authorities denounce and disavow the act of the judge, which is an outrage that cannot be acquiesced in, or submitted to for a moment, yet I fear Seward will hesitate.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

December 16– Friday– Charleston, South Carolina–”Passengers by the Western train [on Wednesday] report a raid on the Virginia and East Tennessee Railroad at Bristol. The enemy, supposed to be a portion of Burbridge’s command from Bean Station, advanced rapidly and entered the town at 5 a.m., destroyed considerable Government stores, with engines and a train, and the eastern bound passenger train on the road between Bristol and Abingdon. We have no positive intelligence of the enemy numbers; but it is supposed to be five or six thousand – a portion of whom are said yet to occupy the place. A body of the enemy, returning towards Bean Station, encountered our forces at Zollicoffer, a station on the East Tennessee and Virginia Road, nine miles west of Bristol, where a fight was said to be progressing at last accounts.” ~ Charleston Mercury.

area outside of Nashville after the battle

area outside of Nashville after the battle

December 16– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– The two-day battle concludes with a Federal victory. Total Union casualties– dead, wounded, missing– amount to 2,140 while Confederate losses total in excess of 4,400. Part of the fire power of Federal troops comes from the use of the hand-cranked Gatling gun. This battle marks the end of the effectiveness of the Confederate forces under General Hood who finds himself forced into delaying and defensive actions only from this date onward.

December 16– Friday– Nashville, Tennessee– “The cannon has been thundering all day yesterday and all today. The battle evidently is raging at last, and will certainly be a furious one under the circumstances—the rebels in sight of their homes will fight with desperation. Jamie has not been out to us for several days, nor Pa– and we have only had the daily papers, which however are silent on this one point of course– any statement of the actual condition of affairs being prohibited. Captain Lamotte and Lieutenant Torry called this morning, but they are still on our side of the bridge– they said that yesterday for the first time the rebs returned our fire. Every report shakes the whole house—but we do not mind it, but keep quiet around roaring fires– for it is bitterly, bitterly cold— and try to read as usual, but it is rather difficult with such an accompaniment ringing our ears. . . . But really it is wonderful how we could have become so accustomed to this state of affairs as to take it so quietly as we are doing today! I remember when two years ago the battle was raging as far off as Murfreesboro, how excited we all were, and how I started and trembled at the faint, far off sound– so indistinct as to be merely suspected in fact– and was too unnerved to do anything but think of the horrible carnage then going on: while today when the deadly work in going on within a mile of our own doors, within sight indeed!– when the artillery is deafening, we sit before the fire quietly, read, chat & laugh! And when I grow too nervous for anything else I seek relief in writing in my journal.” ~ Journal of Maggie Lindsley.

CW artillery

December 16– Friday– Forsyth County, Georgia– “There are bands of armed men calling themselves ‘scouts’ who are constantly ranging through this county foraging on the citizens, stealing horses and mules and committing other depredations, causing great distress and fearful apprehensions and tending to alienate the feelings of many from the Southern cause. This is a dreadful state of things, and if these evils are not suppressed, the whole country will be desolated and the people utterly ruined. Some driven to desperation by these outrages mutter threats of vengeance, others in a state of almost hopeless despair contemplate with trembling and dismay the dreadful alternative of ‘bushwhacking.’ Fearful thought! What is to become of us? The darkest gloom hangs over the future. What can be done? surely something should be done looking to the suppression of at least the checking of these great evils and something promising protection and security for the future. Can

nothing be done to bring about cessation of hostilities? Stop the effusion of innocent blood, stay the hand of the destroying angel, open the way to negotiation and expedite peace. Shall men continue to be blinded by passion and urged on by unholy, towering ambition to prosecute this unnatural war until the last flickering spark of freedom is extinguished in the blood of our sons and brothers and the heaven-given boon of self-government, with all the inestimable blessings of liberty, shall be buried forever in the vortex of revolution? Will ambitious aspirants continue to grovel in human blood for place, power and wealth until all that is desirable to free men is lost and lost forever? Forbid it, mercy, forbid it! Heavens, if the American people do not end – and that speedily – this fratricidal conflict, ruin, fearful ruin, to our whole people will be the inevitable result. Sir, cannot something be done to avert [this] direst of all human calamities? Cannot something be accomplished by conventions? Cannot the states in their sovereign capacity do something in this way? Suppose you take the initiative. Many of your friends who regard you as the greatest champion of state rights think that you should move in this matter, by calling a convention of this state or in some other way.” ~ Letter from a citizen to Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown.

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