|OPERATIONS IN S. C., GA., AND FLA.
assigned me, and will act the instant I get your order to do so. " I had called together the commanding officers of the engineer regiments and explained to them just what I wanted done, and we had selected the buildings and works for destruction. On the morning of the 12th General Sherman directed me to proceed with my work, but to be careful not to use fire, which would endanger other buildings, than those set a Part for destruction. The engineer regiments were divided into detachments, under picked officers, each of whom received a written order as follows:
You will please take the detachment now under your orders to the first high chimney (stating locality and buildings) and throw it down, and continue the work along (stating the route) until you reach (the point designated as the limit of work for this detachment), being careful not to use fire in doing the work, since it would endanger buildings which it is not intended to destroy.
These orders were faithfully carried out, and neither fire now powder was used for destroying buildings until after they had been put in ruins by battering down the walls, throwing down smokestacks, breaking up furnace arches, knocking steam machinery to pieces, and punching all boilers full of holes. The railroads within the limits of the old rebel defenses were destroyed by tearing up the the ties, and after putting the rails across them firing the wood which heated the iron and then rails were twisted. The rails were torn up by using a small but very strong iron "cant hook," devised by myself, and after they were heated were twisted by applying the same hooks at each end of each rail and twisting the iron bar around its horizontal axis, being careful to give the rail at least a half turn. The length of railroad destroyed in this manner, within the limits indicated above, was about ten miles. The depots, car-sheds, machine shops, and watertanks were also destroyed.
It was not until the evening of the 15th of November that fire was applied to the heaps of rubbish we had made. I was upon the ground in person to see that the work was done in a proper and orderly manner; and, so far as engineer troops were concerned, this was the case. But many buildings in the business part of the city were destroyed by lawless persons, who, by sneaking around in blind alleys, succeeded in firing many houses which it was not intended to touch.
Three army corps moved on the morning of the 15th of November, striking boldly out toward the sea. On the morning of the 16th the other army corps and the headquarters military division moved. The map* forwarded to the Bureau of Engineers with my letter dated Goldsborough, N. C., April 7, 1865, will indicate the routes pursued by each army corps until our arrival in front of Savannah. During this march the Augusta railroad was destroyed, as described above, to include the Oconee bridge. The Georgia Central was destroyed from Walnut Creek, within three miles of Macon, to the city of Savannah. The Charleston and Savannah Railroad from the Savannah River bridge to Savannah, the Savannah and Gulf Railroad from Savannah to the Atlamaha, the branch from Millen to Augusta for several miles from Millen, and the branch from Gordon to Eastonton suffered severely.
Pontoon bridges were built at the following points: Over the Yellow River, at railroad crossing, 100 feet; over the Ulcofauhachee, at road crossing, 80 feet; over the Ocmulgee, at Planters' Factory, 200 feet; over the Little River, at railroad crossing, 250 feet; over the Oconee River, at Ball's Ferry, 300 feet; over the Buffalo Creek, on Sandersville road, 400 feet; over the Buffalo Creek, on upper Sandersonvile
* To appear in the Atlas.
|OPERATIONS IN S. C., GA., AND FLA.