War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0373 WILSON'S RAID - ALABAMA AND GEORGIA.

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Dalton, or until he should meet the troops under General Steedman in that region. On beginning his march from Macon, General Alexander was authorized to detach an officer and twenty picket men, disguised as rebel soldiers, for the purpose of trying to obtain definite information of Davis' movements. This party was placed under the command of Lieutenant Joseph A. O. Yeoman, First Ohio Cavalry, and at the time acting inspector-general of the brigade. Verbal instruction were also given to other brigade and division commanders to make similar detachments. General Croxton was directed to send a small party toward Talladega by the route upon which he had marched from that place, while Colonel Eggleston was directed to send a party by rail to West Point. By these means it was believed that all considerable detachments of rebels wold be apprehended, and that such information would be obtained as would enable us to secure the principal rebel leaders if they should undertake to pass through the country in any other way than as individual fugitives. In declaring the armistice of Sherman null and void the Secretary of War had directed that my command should resume active operations and endeavor to arrest the fugitive rebel chiefs. I accordingly notified him and General Thomas by telegraph of the dispositions I had made, and that I had not doubt of accomplishing the desired object, but having forwarded the records of my command to the Adjutant-General's Department, as required by Army Regulations, and been denied copies of the documents relating to these matters, I cannot now fix the exact dates of these dispatches.

After a rapid march toward the upper crossings of the Savannah River in Northeastern Georgia, Lieutenant Yeoman's detachment met and joined Davis' party, escorted by Dibrell's and Ferguson's divisions of cavalry, probably under Wheeler in person, and continued with them several days, probably under Wheeler in person, and continued with them several days, watching for an opportunity to seize and carry off the rebel chief. He was frustrated by the vigilance of the rebel escort. At Washington, Ga., the rebel authorities must have heard that Atlanta was occupied by our troops, and that they could not pass that point without a fight. They halted and for some time acted with irresolution in regard to their future course. The cavalry force which had remained true to Davis, estimated at five brigades and probably numbering 2,000 men, now became mutinous and declined to go any farther. They were disbanded and partially paid off in coin, which had been brought to that point in wagons. Lieutenant Yeoman lost sight of Davis at this time, but dividing his party into three or four small detachments sought again to obtain definite information of his movements, but for twenty-four hours was unsuccessful. Persevering in his efforts he became convinced that Davis had relinquished his idea of going into Alabama, and would probably try to reach the Gulf or South Atlantic Coast and escape by sea. Couriers were sent with this information to General Alexander, and by him duty transmitted to me at Macon. The same conclusion had already been forced upon me by information derived from various other sources, and from the nature of the case it seemed quite probable. With railroad communications through Northern Georgia, and a division of 4,000 national cavalry operating about Atlanta, it would have been next to impossible for a party of fugitives, however small, to traverse that region by the ordinary roads. This must have been clear to the rebels. From these circumstances I became fully convinced that Davis would either flee in disguise and unattended, or endeavor to work his way southward into Florida. With the view of intercepting him in this attempt, I directed the crossings of the Ocmulgee River to be watched renewed vigilance