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1864 December 3: News from Andersonville, Atlanta, and Sherman’s Army

December 5, 2014

The following article containing news from General William T. Sherman’s army is from The Prescott Journal of December 3, 1864.

Gen. Sherman’s Movements.

An Atlanta letter of the 10th to the Herald mentions the arrival of an escaped Union prisoner from Andersonville, who confirms the statements of rebel atrocities toward prisoners, and who also states that in traveling throught [sic] Georgia he found the harvest had been gathered, barns and warehouses were filled and that there were but very few rebel soldiers in the interior, showing there is plenty to subsist an army upon, while but little resistance can be offered.

The last train from Atlanta bound North was to leave Atlanta on the 11th.  The only troops in Atlanta on the 10th were Slocum’s Corps.  [Henry W. Slocum]

A Chattanooga correspondent of the Herald dating the 15th states that he had just arrived from Atlanta.  All the arsenals, foundries, and rolling stock in Atlanta had been destroyed.  All the factories, mills and foundries, from Chattanooga to Atlanta and several miles beyond are destroyed, the railways gutted, torn up and all the iron put beyond use, or brought to the rear.  Atlanta is no longer of military importance, and the country for miles around is devastated beyond a possibility of service to the rebel army.  Atlanta is in ruins and its streets will soon be over-grown with grass. For weeks trains coming North have been filled with Government stores and refugees, and the scenes at the depot have been those of confusion and suffering.

Another account says Sherman had his Headquarters on Monday, the 14th, at Kingston with the 14th Corps.  He had issued an order to telling [sic] the troops they were about to pass  through a country heretofore unoccupied by either army and they were expected to subsist on the country, taking all beeves and mules within reach.  The 14th Corps was the rear-guard of Sherman’s, and moved on Monday last.

Brig. Gen. Barry,¹ Chief of Artillery of Maj. Gen. Sherman, has arrived at Buffalo, having been obliged to come home by an attack of erysipelas.  He left Gen. Sherman at 9 o’clock in the morning of the 12th, at Kingston, Georgia.  Gen. Barry says Gen. Sherman has every infantry, cavalry, and artillery soldier that he wants.  The men have all received eight months’ pay.  Their out-fit has been especially adapted to a hard and rapid winter’s campaign.  The morale of the army is unequalled [sic].  The genius and vigor of Sherman will carry his army triumphantly through the work it has to do.

On Monday night last Hood’s entire force, including Forrest’s cavalry, were in the immediate neighborhood of Tuscumbia and Florence, Alabama, watched by a body of troops under command of Maj. Gen. Geo. H. Thomas, of such strength as will render the invasion of Tennessee an impossibility, and even the withdrawal of Hood for service elsewhere an operation of extreme delicacy.  [John Bell Hood, Nathan B. Forrest]

William F. Barry (cropped), from the Library of Congress

William F. Barry (cropped), from the Library of Congress²

1.  William Farquhar Barry (1818-1879) graduated from West Point in 1838 and was a career military officer, serving in the Seminole and the Kansas-Missouri Border Wars as an artillery commander in the Mexican War. He was the co-author of Instruction for Field Artillery (1860), along with William H. French and Henry J. Hunt. During the Civil War Barry was chief of artillery for the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign and the battles of Yorktown, Mechanicsville, Gaines’ Mill, White Oak Swamp, and Malvern Hill. He was also chief of artillery for Sherman, serving in Tennessee, the March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign. Barry was brevetted major general of Volunteers in 1864 and brevetted major general in the regular army in 1865. After the Civil War, Barry was appointed colonel in the 2nd U.S. Artillery (December 1865), and was in command of the northern frontier during the Fenian raids of 1866. He served there until September 1867, and then commanded the artillery school of practice at Fort Monroe until March 1877, when he was appointed to the command at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland. During the labor riots of 1877 he rendered valuable service at Camden Station.
2.  The [Portrait of Maj. Gen. William F. Barry, officer of the Federal Army], by the Brady National Photographic Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., taken sometime during the Civil War, is in the collection of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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