GENERAL UNDERWOOD'S LECTURE.
When the spring of 1864 opened Gen. Sherman was in command of the western forces, which lay encamped several miles in front of Chattanooga. The Confederates, with a somewhat smaller force, had prepared to block any forward move and lay at Dalton, in northern Georgia. Gen. Joe Johnston was their leader. Sherman's aim was to capture Atlanta in Johnston's rear. With this aim in view he approached the enemy. All the resources of art and nature had combined to aid the latter. Mountains and entrenchment's strengthened his position. Sherman threatened the Confederate rear and Johnston retreated to Resaca. Here a battle was fought and the enemy was again outflanked. Alatoona was Johnston's next stopping place. This also proved too strong for Sherman to attack and he marched away, suddenly reappearing in the rear of his adversary. In making this move the battle of New Hope Church was fought without results. Then comes days of fighting back and forth and of making breastworks. But all was of no avail to the Southerners, who again fell back to Kensaw Mountain. This, by previous labor, had been made a regular fortress. Sherman, to encourage his troops, made an assault but could not take the main works. He had again to resort to flanking tactics. In this manner the enemy was forced back and soon the city of Atlanta was in sight. Johnston was then relieved, and Hood took his place. Hood tried by desperate attacks on three separate days to break up Sherman's forces. His efforts failed; he lost 20,000 men and was compelled to retire into the defenses of the city itself. These were so strong that Sherman dared not order assaults. Instead. he destroyed one line of railway in the rear of Hood, and made a move toward the only other. In so doing he moved away from the city, and Hood thought himself free. What was his surprise to find a day later Sherman breaking up his only line of retreat. He moved out to defend it, and before he knew it the Federal army was upon the city.
Burning all his stores there he abandoned it and Sherman at once marched in. The first object of Sherman was attained. In four months with a loss of only 30,000 men he had captured Atlanta, fought a crafty foreman and overcome many natured difficulties. Johnston and Hood had lost 35,000 men. Sherman refitted his army and rested for a month. Mean while Hood began to attack his communications toward Chattanooga. Sherman moved back after him and repaired the railways destroyed. In this manner, one chasing the other, the two armies had almost reached the starting point again. After corresponding with Gen. Grant, Sherman determined on his famous march to the sea with Savannah. Sending back part of his troops he kept Hood in check, He went to Atlanta and set out from there with 60,000 men, having cut entirely loose from his base of his base of supplies. The army was divided into two wings and scoured across the country with but little opposition until they neared Savannah. It was, as Gen. Underwood said, a grand picnic for the soldiers. They lived on the country, and lived well. The march lasted 35 days. then they came in sight of the sea. Communication was opened with the fleet, Fort McAllister taken and Savannah blockaded, Gen. Hardee, the commandant, seeing but little hopes of holding out, evacuated the city and retired into South Carolina. The federal army at one took possession. The "March through Geogia" was ended, and after a short rest the army was ready to begin a march northward.