It was the original design to hold Atlanta, and by getting through to the coast, with a garrison left on the southern railroads leading east and west through Georgia, to effectually sever the East from the West; in other words, cut the would be Confederacy in two again, as it had been cut once by our gaining possession of the Mississippi River. General Sherman's plan virtually effected this object. General Sherman commenced at once his preparations for his proposed movement, keeping his army in position in the mean time to watch Hood. Becoming satisfied that Hood had moved westward from Gadsden across Sand Mountain, General Sherman sent the fourth Crops, Major-General Stanley commanding, and the Twenty-third Corps, Major-General Schofield commanding, back t Chattanooga to report to Major-General Thomas, at Nashville, whom he had place din command of all the troops of his military division save the four army corps and cavalry division he designed to move with through Georgia. With he troops thus left at his disposal, there was little doubt that General Thomas would hold the line of the Tennessee, or in the event Hood should force it, would be able to concentrate and beat him in battle. It was therefore readily consented to that Sherman should start for the sea-coast. Having concentrated hi troops at Atlanta by the 14th of November, he commenced his march, threatening both Augusta and Macon. His coming-out point could not be definitely fixed. Having to gather his subsistence as he marched through the country, it was not impossible that afforce inferior to his own might compel him to head for such point as he could reach, instead of such as he might prefer. The blindness of the enemy, however, in ignoring his movement, and sending Hood's army, the only considerable force he had west of Richmond and east of the Mississippi River, northward on an offensive campaign, left the whole country open and Sherman's route to his own choice. How that campaign was conducted, how little opposition was met with, the condition of the country through which the armies passed, the capture of Fort McAllister, on the Savannah River, and the occupation of Savannah on the 21st of December, are all clearly set forth in General Sherman's admirable report.*
Soon after General Sherman commenced his march from Atlanta, two expeditions, one from Baton Rouge, La., and one from Vicksburg, Miss., were started by General Canby to cut the enemy's lines of communication with Mobile and detain troops in that field. General Foster, commanding Department of the South, also sent an expedition, via Broad River, to destroy the railroad between Charleston and Savannah. The expedition from Vicksburg, under command of Bvt. Brigadier General E. D. Osband (colonel third U. S. Colored Cavalry), captured, on the 27th of November, and destroyed the Mississippi Central Railroad bridge and trestle-work over Big Black River, near Canton, thirty miles of the road, and tow locomotives, besides large amounts of stores. The expedition from Baton Rouge was without favorable results. The expedition from the Department of the South, under the immediate command of Brigadier General John P. Hatch, consisting of about 5,000 men of all arms, including a brigade from the Navy, proceeded up Broad River and embarked at Boyd's Neck on the 29th of November, from where it moved to strike the railroad at Grahamville. At Honey Hill, about three miles from Grahamville, the enemy was found and attacked in a strongly fortified position, which resulted, after severe fighting, in our repulse, with a loss of 746 in killed, wounded, and missing. During the night General Hatch withdrew. On the 6th of
*For subordinate reports of the Savannah campaign, see. Vol. XLIV.