Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 402
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 402
of the left wing having started the day before, Sherman rode out of Atlanta on November 16 with the Fourteenth Corps: he had in all 62,000 “able-bodied, experienced soldiers, well armed, well equipped and provided, as far as human foresight could, with all the essentials of life, strength and vigorous action.” 1 One of the bands happening to play “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave,” the men sang the well-known song, giving to the chorus, “Glory, glory hallelujah, his soul is marching on,” a force full of meaning, as their minds reverted to the events which had taken place since that December day in 1859 when he who was now a saint in their calendar had suffered death on the scaffold. When the march to the sea began, the weather was fine, the air bracing and the movement to the south and east exhilarated the men. Many of the common soldiers called out to their general, “Uncle Billy, I guess Grant is waiting for us at Richmond.” “There was a ‘devil-may-care’ feeling pervading officers and men,” related Sherman, “that made me feel the full load of responsibility.” 2 The tale of the march is not one of battle and inch-by-inch progress as was the campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta. “As to the ‘lion’ in our path,” wrote Sherman after he had reached Savannah, “we never met him.” 3 Officers and men looked upon the march as a “picnic,” “a vast holiday frolic.” 4 The burden was on the general in command. He was in the enemy’s country; he must show his skill by keeping this large army supplied. When the army set out it had approximately supplies of bread for twenty days, sugar, coffee and salt for forty and about three days’ forage in grain; it had also a sufficient quantity of ammunition; all this was carried in 2500 wagons with a team of six mules
Note 1. W. Sherman, II, 172. [back]
Note 2. Ibid., II, 179. [back]
Note 3. O. R., XLIV, 793. [back]
Note 4. J. D. Cox, 42. [back]


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