Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
THE BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE.
CALVARY, Lieut.-Gen. Wade Hampton.
Consisted of Lieut.-Gen. Joseph Wheeler's corps and the division of Maj: Gen. DT. C. Butler, embracing, in part, the following-named organizations : 1st Ala., __; 3d Ala., __; 51st Ala., Col. M. L. Kirkpatrick; 1st Ga.,__; 2d Ga.,__ ; 3d Ga.,__ ; 4th Ga.,__ ; 5th Ga., Col. Edward Bird; 6th Ga.,__ ; 12th Ga., Capt. J. H. Graham; 1st Tenn., Col. James T. Wheeler; 2d Tenn., Col. H. M. Ashby ; 4th Tenn., Col. Baxter Smith; 5th Tenn., Col. George W. McKenzie; 8th Tenn., ; 9th Tenn. Battalion, Maj. James H. Akin ; 3d Confederate, ; 8th Confederate, Lieut.-Col. John S. Prather; 10th Confederate, ; 1st Ky.,__ ; 3d Ky .,__ ; 9th Ky.,__ ; 3d Ark., Maj. W. H. Blackwell ; 8th Tex.,__ ; 11th Tex.,__ ; Allison's Squadron, ; S. C. Battery (Hart's), Capt. E. L. Halsey; S. C. Battery, Capt. William E. Earle. Logan's Brigade, Brig: Gen. T. M. Logan : 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th S. C., and 19th S. C. Batt'n, ; Phillips Ga. Legion, Maj. W. W. Thomas; Jeff. Davis Legion, Col. J. F. Waring; Cobb's Ga. Legion, Capt. R. B. Roberts; 10th Ga., Capt. E. W. Moise.
The division and brigade commanders mentioned in General Wheeler's official report of the campaign are W. Y. C. Humes, W. W. Allen, Robert H. Anderson, M. W. Hannon, James Hagan, George G. Dibrell, F. H. Robertson, Thomas Harrison, H. M. Ashby, and C. C. Crews.
Artillery Batt'n, Maj. Joseph Palmer; S. C. Batt'y, Capt. James I. Kelly ; Miss. Batt'y (Swett's), Lieut. H. Shannon ; Fla. Batt'y, Capt. Henry F. Abell ; I, 10th N. C. Batt'n, Capt. Thomas I. Sutherland ; 3d N. C. Batt'n Art'y, Maj. John W. Moore ; 13th N. C. Batt'n Art'y, Lieut.-Col. Joseph B. Starr ; Pioneer Reg't, Col. John G. Tucker; Naval Brigade, Rear-Admiral Raphael Johnston reported his effective strength of infantry and artillery as follows : March 17th, 9513 ; March 23d, 15,027 ; March 27th, 14,678 (on this date the cavalry numbered 4093); March 31st, 16,014; April 7th, 18,182; April 17th, 14,770; April 24th, 15,188.
In his official report General Wheeler says that he had under his immediate command at the commencement of the campaign 4442 effectives ; on February 16th, 5172, and on April 17th, 4965. The number of troops (combatants and non-combatants) paroled at (Greensboro was 30,045 ; at Salisbury, 2987, and at Charlotte, 4015, making a grand total of 37,047. General Johnston (" Narrative," p. 410) says : " The meeting between General Sherman and myself, and the armistice that followed, produced great uneasiness in the army. It was very commonly believed among the soldiers that there was to be a surrender, by which they would be prisoners of war, to which they were very averse. This apprehension caused a great number of desertions between the 19th and 24th of April-not less than 4000 in the infantry and artillery-, and almost as many from the cavalry." The Confederate loss in action at Rivers's Bridge, S. C., w as 8 killed, 44 wounded, and 45 captured or missing=97. Near Kinston, N. C., there were 11 killed, 107 wounded, and 16 captured or missing=134. The loss at Averysboro' is estimated at about 700. At Bentonville it was 239 killed, 1694 wounded, and 673 captured or missing=2606. With regard to the latter, however, General Sherman (Personal Memoirs," Vol. II., p. 306) claims to have captured 1625 prisoners.
THE BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE.BY WADE HAMPTON, LIEUTENANT-GENERAL, C. S. A. (1)
WHEN Sherman cut loose from Atlanta, after expelling the inhabitants and burning a part of the city, (2) it was evident to every one who had given a thought to the subject that his objective point was a junction with General Grant's army.
The Army of Tennessee, after its disastrous repulse before Franklin, was, with its shattered columns, in rear instead of in frondvancing forces, and thus he was allowed to make his march to Savannah a mere holiday excursion. At this latter point there was no adequate force to oppose him, and when Hardee, who commanded there, withdrew, the city fell an easy prey. The situation then was as follows : Sherman had established a new base, where communication with the sea was open to him, while Hardee's line extended from the Savannah River to James Island, beyond Charleston, a distance of 115 miles. Outside of the garrison of Charleston he had but a handful of unorganized troops to hold this long line, and our true policy then would have been to abandon Charlestown, to concentrate every available man in front of Sherman, and to dispute the passage of the rivers and swamps which were in his line of march, and which offered most admirable positions for an inferior force to strike a superior one. The garrison of Charleston consisted, I think, of about sixteen thousand well-equipped, well-drilled infantry, fully supplied with excellent artillery. Stevenson's division, Army of Tennessee (Confederate), consisting of 2600 men, reached Columbia before the appearance of the enemy. In addition to the troops already mentioned, there were here Wheeler's and Butler's commands of cavalry, and several unattached bodies of State troops and reserves. A rapid concentration of these forces would have put from 25,000 to 30,000 men in front of Sherman, and an attack, upon one wing of his army, when separated from the other, would either have resulted in a victory to our army or would have encumbered him with so many wounded men that he would have been forced to retreat to the sea, at Charleston. The views I have here expressed were entertained at the time spoken of, for as I happened to be in Columbia then,-not on duty, however,-I urged upon General Beauregard, who had assumed command about that time, the abandonment of Charleston and the concentration of his whole force at the first-named city. I pressed the same views on Governor Magrath, tellingtant as Charleston was to us, Branchville, the junction of the railroads from Columbia, Augusta, and Charleston, was far more important. In these opinions, my
(1) On the 16th of January, 1865 (while on leave of absence), General Hampton, commander of the Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, was assigned to the command of all the cavalry in the operations against Sherman.-EDITORS.
(2) General Sherman ordered all railway tracks and buildings and all warehouses and public buildings that might be of military use to the Confederates to be destroyed, under the direction of Colonel O. M. Poe, Chief Engineer.-EDITORS.