In October, 1864, just before General Sherman commenced his famous march to the sea, while his army lay camped in the neighborhood of Atlanta, the army of Hood, in a carefully prepared movement, passed the right flank of Sherman’s army, and gaining his rear, commenced the destruction of the railroad leading north, burning block-houses and capturing the small garrisons along the line.
Sherman’s army was put in rapid motion, following Hood, to save the supplies and larger posts, the principal of which was located at Altoona Pass, a defile in the Altoona range of mountains, through which ran the railroad. General Corse, of Illinois, was stationed here with a Brigade of troops, composed of Minnesota and Illinois regiments, in all about 1,500 men; Col. Tourtelotte being Second in Command. A million and a half of rations were stored here, and it was highly important that the earthworks commanding the Pass and protecting the supplies should be held.
Six thousand men, under command of Gen. French, were detailed by Hood to take the position. The works were completely surrounded and summoned to surrender. Corse refused, and sharp fighting commenced. The defenders were slowly driven into a small fort upon the crest of the hill. Many had fallen, and the result seemed to render a prolongation of the fight hopeless.
At this moment an officer caught sight of a white signal flag, far away across the valley, fifteen miles distant, upon the top of Kenesaw Mountain. The signal was answered, and soon the message was waved across from mountain to mountain: “Hold the Fort; I am coming. W. T. Sherman.”
Cheers went up, the men took courage; and under a murderous fire, which killed or wounded more than half the men in the fort—Corse himself being shot three times and Col. Tourtelotte taking command, though himself badly wounded, they held the fort for three hours, until the advance guard of Sherman’s army came up, and French was obliged to retreat.
Christians should never surrender to Satan, because we have the Promise of Christ’s return.