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The battle of Penyville appears to have been conspicuous for feats of individual gallantry upon both sides, one of the most interesting of these incidents being the behavior of the stripling Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. Parsons, who commanded a battery of light artillery in Jackson's ill-fated division of McCook's corps.

The story, as related the night of the battle, was that, gallantly maintaining his position, he inflicted fearful loss upon the Confederate line as it swept up the crest of the hill upon which stood his battery. His cannoneers, together with the infantry supports, had been well-nigh annihilated by the volleys which Cheatham's division poured in upon them. Parsons and another conmiissioned officer were all that were left at the guns. As though realizing that all hope of life was gone, but too brave to turn and flee. Parsons dropped the point of his uplifted sword and stoo^ at "parade rest" amidst the wreck of his battery. Instantly every musket flew up, and with a cheer for the indomitable youth, the Confederate line rushed by. Little effort was made to hold him, so that in the confusion of the moment he readily escaped to his own lines.

Some years after the war, the same colonel entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church, and was called to minister in the city of Memphis. The scourge of yellow fever was then moving up the Mississippi Valley, sparing neither age nor rank. It found this man at his post, this time ministering to the wants of a people but yesterday his foes. Day and night, unmindful of himself, he stood amidst the dead and d3ring, unflinching as before. But the plague, less merciful than war, swept over him, and that gallant spirit went out amidst the sorrowing tears of the people for whom he now laid down his life.

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Another feature of the battle was the unintentional mixing of Confederate and Federal troops upon Mc-Cook's right ill the interval which existed between the two corps. It occurred with the reinforcements sent by-Gilbert to McCook's aid. Colonel Gooding, for instance, seeking for orders as to where to place his brigade, rode up to General Polk, and, under the impression that he was addressing General McCook, said, "I have come to your assistance with my brigade.'' Asking the name of the command, and receiving an answer, General Polk replied, "There is some mistake about this, and you are a prisoner." The effect of Colonel Gooding's capture was to keep his brigade inactive for some time, as it was unaware of his fate and naturally awaited his return; but finally it went into action, and, judging from all the information obtainable upon the subject, directly opposite the left of the Confederate advance line. General Polk had kept himself mainly upon this part of the field, as it was the most vulnerable, and about dark came very near presenting himself as an exchange for Colonel Gooding. The account of the incident is given in his own words as narrated to Lieutenant-Colonel Fremantle of the Coldstream Guards, British army:

I got out of General Polk the story of his celebrated adventure with the regiment, which resulted in the almost

total destruction of that corps. I had often during my travels heard oflScere and soldiers talking of this extraordinary feat of the bishop. The modest yet graphic mamier in which General Polk related this wonderful instance of coolness and bravery was extremely interesting, and I now repeat it as nearly as I can in his own words:

"Well, sir, it was at the battle of Perryville, late in the evening — in fact it was almost dark — when Liddell's brigade, came into action.

"Shortly after its arrival I observed a body of men whom

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I believed to be Confederates standing at an angle to this brigade and firing obliquely at the newly arrived troop. I said, *Dear me, this is very sad, and must be stopped,' so I turned round, but could find none of my young men, who were absent on different messages, so I determined to ride myself and settle the matter. Having cantered up to the colonel of the regiment which was firing, I asked him in angry tones what he meant by shooting his friends, and I desired him to cease doing so at once. He answered with surprise, 'I don't think there can be any mistake about it. I am sure they are the enemy.' 'Enemy,' I said; 'why I have only just left them myself — cease firing, sir; what is your

name, sir?' *My name is Colonel , of the , and

pray, sir, who are you?' Then for the first time I saw to my astonishment that he was a Federal and that I was in the rear of the Federal line. Well, I saw there was no hope but to brazen it out, my dark blouse and the increasing obscurity befriendmg me, so I approached quite close to him and shook my fist in his face, saying, 'I'll soon show you who I am. Cease firing at once.' I then turned my horse and cantered slowly down the line, shouting in an authoritative manner to the Yankees to cease firing. At the same time I experienced a disagreeable sensation like screwing up my back, and calculating how many bullets would lie between my shoulders every moment; I was afraid to increase my pace until I got to a small copse, when I put the spurs in and galloped back to my men. I inmiediately went up to the nearest colonel and said to him, 'Colonel, I have reconnoitcred those fellows pretty closely, and there is no mistake as to who they are. You may get up and go at them.'"

The work was soon accomplished, the result being the almost complete destruction of the enemy's dommand.^

General Bragg's forces, which now were superior to General Buell's in material and, with the arrival of Mar-

1 Liddell's oiBcial report, "Official Records, War of Rebellion.^ vol. xvi, pt. i, p. 1159.

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shall, nearly equal in numbers, were assembled at Har-rodsburg on the 10th; but he could not make up his mind to assume the offensive, evincing, in fact, a perplexity and vacillation which had now become simply appalling to Smith, to Hardee, and to Polk. As it was evident that Buell would continue his movement against the communications of the Confederate army, moving by his right flank, the forces were retired finally to Brayantsville, the point designated as the temporary base. General Buell, still moving by the right, now threatened to occupy, at Crab Orchard, the line to Cumberland Gap and East Tennessee. The prompt determination of a definite plan of action became, therefore, an urgent question in the Confederate camp. A council of war was consequently called by General Bragg, several plans were suggested, but the weight of opinion was in favor of evacuating Kentucky. This course was in keeping with the commanding general's views; the retreat from the State was therefore ordered. On October 13, Kirby Smith with the Army of Kentucky, and Polk with the Army of Mississippi, preceded by long trains of captured stores, marched in the direction of East Tennessee. General Bragg remained with the army until it reached London, leaving the conduct of the retreat in the main to Polk and Smith. At London he turned over the command to General Polk and rode direct to the railroad in East Tennessee, going thence to Richmond, where he made his report to the government.

General Buell's pursuit was stubbornly contested by Wheeler and John Morgan. Finding that the Confederate army had eluded him, he halted his main force and sent General Thomas with Crittenden's corps to continue the pursuit. This force followed as far as

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London only, where it was halted, and from whence it soon moved to join its companion corps on the march to Nashville.

During the retreat, Kirby Smith,.who chafed under the meager results of the campaign, proposed that the army should turn upon the pursuing column of the enemy; but General Polk, although sharing General Smith's feeling, declined the proposal, as his instructions were to move to Knoxville without delay.^

After a good deal of privation and much rough marching, the commands, moving by separate roads, reached Cumberland Gap and passed into East Tennessee. Gen-

' Extract from " General Kirby Smith," by Arthur H. Noll: '* News of the battle of PerryvlUe on the 8th reached me on the evening of the 9th with orders to join Bragg at Harrodsburg. The head of my column by a night march entered Harrodsburg early on the morning of the 10th and I reported in person to Gen. Bragg at that place. The rear of his column was moving out of Harrodsburg in retreat on Camp Dick Robertson as I entered. I reported my arrival at Harrodsburg with 30,000 men, to Gen. Bragg and urged the countermarch of his column and the giving of battle to Buell at that place,—that he had for the first time since his arrival in Ky. concentrated his command, and that he could put near 60,000 veterans in line of battle. My words were 'For God's sake. General, let us fight Buell here,—I believe that without a command even, our men would run over BucU's army composed, as it more than half is, of new levies.' Gen. Bragg's reply to me was, 'I will do it, Sir; select a position, put your men in line of battle and I will countermarch my column.' I was occupied the whole morning in putting my command in line of battle amidst shouts and with great enthusiasm, promising them a fight on the morrow and a victory over the enemy. In the evening I received an order from Bragg directing me to take up my line, march on Camp Dick Robertson,—that he had decided to retreat and not fight Buell. I moved upon Camp Dick Robertson and the Campaign ended most ingloriously, and from the first time in the history of the Confederacy, an army of veterans retreated before an inferior force largely made up of new levies. The concentration from the three Departments of West Virginia, East Tennessee and Mississippi, was scattered to the four winds. Humphrey Marshall by Pound Gap was ordered back to West Virginia, the army of East Tennessee by Big Creek and Cumberland Gaps to East Tennessee, and Bragg, posting, in person to Richmond, to lay his case before the President."

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eral Smith, again in his own department, disposed his troops to protect his territory, and General Polk marched the Army of Mississippi to Knoxville, which point it reached the last day of October. About November 1 General Bragg returned from Richmond and resumed the command of the Army of Mississippi, which he then transferred by rail to Murfreesboro in Middle Tennessee, a point then held by General Breckinridge. The occupation of this position, completed early in December, was the closing act of the Kentucky campaign. On November 3 General Polk was directed by General Bragg to proceed to Richmond and report to the President. Mr. Davis had ordered his presence that he might obtain further information concerning the conduct of the campaign. Many plain questions were asked and as plainly answered, the situation demanding the utmost candor. General Polk stated, with all respect to General Bragg's great abilities in the direction of organization and discipline, that he had been wanting in the higher elements of generalship in the conduct of the campaign; and that, in view of the admitted possibilities of the campaign, he considered it a failure—an opinion, he said, he believed Generals Smith and Hardee shared with him. He further said that General Bragg had lost the confidence of his generals, and, in answer to a suggestion from the President of a change of commanders, requested that General Joseph E. Johnston should be assigned to the command of the Army, if a change were made.

It is needless to say that General Bragg did not share in the opinion of the campaign which his subordinates held, and while he acknowledged some of its failures, attributed them to General Polk. Failing to secure the support from the general officers of the army necessary to the successful prosecution of charges. General Bragg

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wrote an oflEicial report of the campaign (May 20, 1863), in which he specifically placed the responsibility for his failures upon General Polk. The government suppressed the report. How far General Bragg was correct in his claims can be learned by comparing his official report ^ with the narrative of this chapter, and then by checking both with the correspondence,^ brought out by his endeavor to secure evidence upon which to base an arrest and charges before a court-martial. Further light may also be gotten by referring to the documents to be found in the volumes of the Official Records of the Rebellion referred to the footnotes to this chapter. Questions which are not met in any of these sources of information will find a solution in the letter which General Buell kindly wrote in answer to one addressed him by the author. This letter, together with the essential part of General Bragg's oflEicial report, appears in the Appendix to this chapter. This report claims that his plans were defeated, first because Polk did not move from Bards-town to attack the insignificant force (SilPs division) before Frankfort; second, because Polk did not rout Buell at Perryville. The report is silent as to the fact that General Bragg himself coimtermanded the first, and it shows that General Bragg was persistently blind to the additional fact that he had rendered the second impossible by sending Polk with 16,000 men to fight 58,000, while he himself took 36,000 with which to fight 12,000.

Transmitting to Polk, Bragg's letter in which was sought from Polk's subordinates evidence for the proposed charges, Hardee, thoroughly familiar with the campaign, closed his letter to Polk thus: "If you choose

1 "Official Records. War of Rebellion." vol. xvi. pt. i, p. 1088. * Ibid., p. 1097.

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to rip up the Kentucky campaign you can tear Bragg to tatters." 1

But, after all, "tearing Bragg to tatters" was nothing comparable to the loss his incapacity had caused the Confederacy. Looking back upon that campaign, in the light of what was then happening, it was the greatest opportunity ever presented this army to do its share in the war. It was in prime condition, manoeuvering in a faultless country; and yet in spite of its two battles, both subsidiaries to its greater purpose, its march into Kentucky, solely for the lack of leadership,, sank from the level of a campaign to that of a raid.

1 Hardee to Polk," Official Records,War of Rebellion/' vol. xvi, pt. i, p. 1097.

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Letter from General BueR to Dr. Polk.

AiRDNK, June 24,1879. (P. 0., Paradise, Ky.)

Dear Sir: . . . I was very ill wbeu your letter was received, and for a considerable time it remained among a mass of neglected duties. It is very late to answer it now, but I ' learned recently from Doctor Met^^alfe that you bad not yet disposed of the matter with reference to which you desired information, and I am unwilling to seem to have been either indifferent to the subject or careless about your request.

I venture, therefore, at this late day to reply to your inquiries in their order, as follows:

1st. On the afternoon and night of October 6, 1862, Mc Cook's corps, formiug the left of my army, was five miles northwest of Willisburgh, on the road from Bloomfield, with 'the exception of SilPs division, which was on the road from Louisville to Frankfort., probably near Shelbyville on that day. Gilbert's corps (which, moving from liouisville by the way of Shepherdsville, formed the right) and Crittenden's (which, moving by way of Mt. Washington, formed the center), having converged from Bardstown, were following the Confederate army, and encamped near Springfield on the night of the 6th.

2d. On the night of the 7th, McCook's corps, excepting Sill's division as above, was at Maxville, about twelve miles from Perryville. Gilbert's, now in the center under my personal direction, was in front of Perryville on the Springfield road, about two and a half miles off. Crittenden's, now on the right, under the immediate direction of General


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Thomas, was two and a half miles soath of Haysvilley about twelve miles from Perryville. It was ordered to encamp that night at Haysville, which is on the road from liobanon. to Perryville, but in fact it wasted its strength and the best part of the night in marching away from the road after water. It was consequently out of timely reach of the instructions which I sent to it on the night of the 7th, and it did not substantially get into position in front of Perryville until the afternoon of the 8th. Two of its divisions were up at about twelve o'clock, and were reported at my headquarters at half-past ten o'clock. The other division was still two miles in rear.

McCook's corps in these movements was purposely held a little back, to be in supporting distance of the column on the Frankfort road, and in consequence of the uncertainty as to the point at which the main Confederate army and Kirby Smith's force would concentrate; my object being to get as much as possible on the line of any Confederate movement toward Middle Tennessee, without too much exposing my communication with Louisville to a Confederate movement on my left.

3d. On the night of the 3d the three corps were at Salt River,— Gilbert's (then the right) near Shepherdsville, Crittenden's (then the center) near Mt. Washington, and McCook's (the left) at Taylorsville, excepting Sill's division, as above stated.

4\h, The strength of the three corps was about 21,000 men each on leaving Louisville, The detachment of Sill's from McCook's left the latter — for any purpose of immediate battle — about 14,000 men, or less. The whole available force, including cavalry, for a general battle at Perryville on the 8th, without any allowance for stragglers since leaving Louisville, would have been about 68,000 men, if the right and left corps had got into position according to my orders.

I cannot give you very accurate information in regard to the strength of my cavalry. The principal part of the force operating with the army at Perryville consisted of perfectly raw Kentucky regiments which I found at Louisville on my

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arrivaL I reckon it to haye been about 1500 or 2000 strong^.

The older force, which numbered 1200 or 1500, and which came with me from Tennessee, was halted at Elizabethtown, partly to observe in that direction the Confederate army at Bardstown, and partly in consequence of the necessity of repairing it before it could be fit for active operations with the army. The whole cavalry force was totally inadequate for the service which the occasion demanded.

5th. I marched from Bowling Green to attack Bragg at Glasgow. I should have attacked him at that point if he had been found there, or at Munfordsville if he had not moved on, or at any other point at which he might have chosen to give battle. I never thought of falling back upon Bowling Green, or of moving via Morgantown or any other point to the Ohio River. When Bragg, with my army close upon his rear, turned off toward Bardstown, I moved then rapidly to Louisville, both to protect that place if he should advance against it, and to increase my strength for further offensive operations.

The foregoing perhaps sufficiently answers your inquiries, but it may not be altogether uninteresting to you if I add some general remarks upon a campaign in which your distinguished father acted a prominent part.

My interpretation of Bragg's design while he was preparing his campaign at Chattanooga in the summer of 1862 differed in some respects from its execution. The immediate object, I had no doubt, was the recovery of Middle Tennessee and the occupation of Nashville. Beyond that it was not necessary to anticipate; though, if that were accomplished, the extension of the campaign into Kentucky was not an improbable purpose. I expected the operations for this object to be prompt and aggressive from the first; like those of Lee into Pennsylvania in 1862, and like those of Hood against Nashville in the closing year of the war. It was, according to my view, to be a campaign not only of bold movements for the immediate object, but of battles promptly delivered if necessary. Such a plan seemed to be in accordance with the policy of the Confederate Government at that time, and the

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temper of the southern people. I do not say that it would have been any more suocessful, for that was the plan which it was most in my mind to defeat.

With all the information that has since come to my knowledge, I still adhere to this view of the original plan.

The execution wavered very soon after Bragg crossed the Tennessee River, and at last—I suppose about the 1st of September—materially departed from the original idea of a direct attack. But I regarded the immediate object to be the same, though pursued by more tardy and less direct means, until the bulk of his army had crossed the Cumberland and was approaching Glasgow. After passing that point, with my army in his rear, a pitched battle or a further advance into Kentucky became inevitable, whatever may have been the original plan. You may have the means of knowing whether this view is correct, and I will not recite the evidence upon which my opinion is based at the time and is still entertained.

I was not much at fault, in spite of the first extravagant reports, in regard to the force which was being employed. I estimated it at 60,000 men, including Kirby Smith's force. It was not easy to tell how it was or might be divided between Chattanooga and Knoxville ; but, at any rate, I expected the bulk of it, starting from East Tennessee and Chattanooga, to operate in close communication, and at length to unite for the main object in Middle Tennessee. A diversion proceeding from Knoxville toward Kentucky, requiring of me a more efficient organization of the scanty and scattered force in that State, I anticipated; and with that view, about the 20th of August, I sent General Nelson, with some artillery and a few general officers, to take command in Kentucky.

The force which I had in Middle Tennessee and Alabama did not exceed 46,000 men, and the necessity of guarding long lines of communication that were frequently broken by the partisan operations of the Confederate cavalry in a country which was not friendly reduced the force which I could concentrate at any point in advance of NashviUe to 30,000 men. After the operations of the two armies had extended

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to the north side of the Camberland, my force was inoreased by two divisions^ about 10,000 men, from General Grant.

My movements to counteract the invasion were based upon the facts and theories above described. They contemplat'Cd battle always: defensive, or defensive-offensive in the beginning, while my available force was weakest, and Bragg^s designs were supposed to be direct; offensive, when my force was increased, and Bragg established his army on my communications at Glasgow and MunfordsvOle. But they also comprehended fully the advantage which the use of arms of precision and long range gave to that side which could choose its position and await attacks—an advantage that became more generally recognized on botli sides lat«r in the war.

This general view will explain my movements throughout. I have seen no authoritative explanation of Bragg's. My first object was to defend Middle Tennessee, and I therefore put myself always between its capital and the invading army, even when the enemy was placing himself on my line of commtmications. I knew that Kentucky was weak, but she was on the side of powerful succor, and, with the reinforcements which I was promised, I could follow Bragg threateningly and give him battle when the time came. Very truly, your obedient servant,


Dr. W. M. Polk, City of New York.

Extract from General Bragg's Official Beport of May 20,1863.

Major-General Polk, left at Bardstown in command, was directed, if pressed by a force too large to justify his giving battle, to fall back in the direction of the new depot near BryantsviUe, in front of which I proposed to concentrate for action. Arriving in Lexington on the 1st of October, I met the Provisional Governor of the State, who had previously been invited to accompany me and arrange for his installation at the capitol on the 4th. The available forces of General Smith, just returned to Lexington, were ordered immediately to Frankfort. Finding but little progress had

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been made in the transfer of our accumulated stores from Lexin^on, and learning of a heavy movement of the enemy from Louisville, I ordered Major-General Polk, in writing dated " Lexington, 10 o'clock p.m., October 2," and sent by two routes, " to move from Bardstown, with his whole available force, by way of Bloomfield, toward Frankfort, to strike the enemy in flank and rear," and informed him that Major-General Smith would attack in front.

When received at Bardstown on the 3d, the general submitted this order, which is not mentioned in his report (see Exhibit No. 1), to a council of wing and division commanders, and determined to move as originally instructed by me on leaving Bardstown.

Fortunately, notice of this determination reached me at Frankfort in time to prevent the movement against the enemy's front by General Smith, but it necessitated an entire change in my plans,—the abandonment of the capital, and the partial imcovering and ultimate loss of our stores at Lexington. Not doubting but that some imperative necessity, unknown to me, existed with the general for this departure from instructions, I confoimed at once to his movements, and put General Smith's command in motion, to form the junction farther south, still covering the supplies at Lexington as far as practicable.

Proceeding rapidly to Harrodsburg myself, I was met there by Major-General Polk, on the 6th of October, with the head of the column, which had marched from Bardstown on the 3d. After a full and free conference with the general, my first views remained unchanged, and, as he reported to me at midnight of the 6th of October, when enclosing a written report from Major-General Hardee, at PerryviUe, "that he did not regard the enemy in large strength near there '\ (see Exhibit No. 2), I renewed, early on the morning of the 7th, the order to concentrate all the forces in front of the depot at Lexington. But before the order was put in ful] operation, information was received that the enemy, in limited force, was pressing upon General Hardee at Perryville; that he was nowhere concentrated against us, but was moving by

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separate columns; his right was near Lebanon; a corps in front of PerryviUe; and his left two entire corps extending by way of Macksville to Frankfort, a line of at least sixty miles. This presented an opportunity, which I promptly seized, of striking him in detail.

Accordingly written orders were given to Major-General Polk, dated " Harrodsburg, October 7, 5.40 P-M.," to moye Cheatham's division, now at Harrodsburg, back to PerryviUe, and to proceed to that point himself, '^ attack the enemy immediately, rout him, and then move rapidly to join Major-General Smith," as before ordered; and it was added, '' No time should be lost in this movement." Meanwhile during the same day I had received repeated and urgent applications from General Smith (near Frankfort) by express, representing the enemy to be in strong force in his immediate front, and earnestly asking for reinforcements. Accordingly, Withers's division had been detached and sent to him (before receipt by me of the information from PerryviUe), and was already far on the way thither at the time when the movement to PerryvUle was ordered, and this wiU account for my being without the benefit of this division in the battle which ensued next day at the latter place. Major-General Polk arrived at PerryvUle with Cheatham's division before midnight of the 7th, and the troops were placed by General Hardee in the line of battle previously established. Our forces now in this position consisted of three divisions of infantry, about 14,500, and two small brigades of cavalry, about 1500. To this the enemy opposed one corps, Gilbert's, about 18,000 strong. Information reached me during the evening and night of the 7th at Harrodsburg, which indicated that no attack could be made on General Smith's command the next day, and I immediately changed my purpose to join him, and determined to go to PerryviUe. From unofficial sources I was led to fear the existence of serious misapprehension in regard to the position and strength of the enemy's forces near PerryviUe, as weU as to the location of our suppUes, supposed to be at BryantsviUe, when in truth but two days' rations for the army had reached that point.

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. J^









Gen. B R AGG,Ooiinr^CConfederate Army

Maf.Gen.ROSECRANS^Co]n]Tid^ederal Amiv



Tk^poaraph^of thMground taken Oct. 1S€'^ )scr^ troops noetAonthgd4Mysc^Ouenffa^emerita

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Having Ordered the attack, and that no time should be lost, 1 was ooncemed at not hearing the commencement of the engagement early in the morning, but was much relieved for the time by receiving from General Polk a note dated **' Perryville, 6 A.M., 8th Oct.,'^ informing me that the enemy's pickets commenced firing at daylight, and that he should bring on the engagement vigorously. To my surprise, however, no gun was heard, and on my arrival, about 10 AM,, I was informed that it was determined not to attack, but to assume the ^' defensive-offensive.'' After a hasty reconnois-sance and consultation, orders were given for some changes deemed necessary in the line of battle; a portion of it, being withdrawn, was restored, and Major-General' Polk was ordered to bring on the engagement. Impatient at the delay after this order, I dispatched a staff-officer to repeat it to the general, and soon thereafter I followed in person and put the troops in motion.

Major-General Buell, commanding the forces there in our immediate front, in his official report says: '^ I had somewhat expected an attack early in the morning on Gilbert's corps, while it was isolated." These delays had postponed the action until it was now past noon, and a second corps of the enemy (18,000) had reached the field. The general officers at the meeting about daylight (see General Polk's report), who resolved on this delay, must have acted without correct information, and in ignorance that my orders were urgent and imperative for the attack; moreover, I was within one hour's ride and was not consulted or informed.

The official report written by General Bragg October 12, 1862, should be read in connection with this report. See " Official Records, War of Rebellion," vol. xvi, pt. i, p. 1087.

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December, 1862, to June, 1863.

A visit from the President.—The marriagre of Genend John Morgan.— The battle of Murfreesboro.—Strength of opposing forces.—Disadvantages of the field.— Extracts from General Polk's report.—The call for Breckinridge's brigades by Hardee and Polk.—Assault of Breckinridge's division and its disastrous result, January 2.—Killed and wounded on either side.-General Polk and his division commanders advise retreat—General Bragg determines to hold his own.—Recedes from the resolve and decides upon retreat.— Council of general officers. —Retreat to be immediate.— Army falls back to ShelbyvlUe and Tulla-homa.— Correspondence between General Bragg and Generals Polk, Hardee, Breckinridge, Cleburne, and Cheatham.—General Polk's note to President Davis.— General Johnston ordered to investigate causes of discontent; assumes temporary command of the army.—Polk renews the effort to secure him as permanent commander.—An eye to the morale of the army.—Story of the cliaplains.—The TuUahoma campaign.— Chattanooga.—General view of the political and military situation.

General Polk reinaiiied in.Richmond a few days, and then went to Raleigh with a view of temporarily settling his family, whose sojourn after the burning of their dwelling had been changing with the Confederate line. Having left Nashville when it was evacuated in consequence of the retreat from Bowling Green under Sidney Johnston, they went to New Orleans, and upon its fall, or as soon as they were able to leave, they came out of General Butler's line to seek such shelter as might be obtained within Confederate sway.

After an absence of two weeks General Polk, who meanwhile had received his commission as lieutenant-


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general, rejoined the army, now encamped in the vicinity of Murfreesboro 5 the Federal army, after the vain pursuit of the forces under General Polk through eastern Kentucky, having been concentrated at Nashville, with General Rosecrans, in place of General Buell, as the chief in command.

Two events now took place which attracted no little attention at the time. One was a visit to the army from President Davis; the other was the marriage of General John Morgan, the celebrated cavalry commander. Both occurrences are mentioned in the following extract from a letter to Mrs. Polk, dated December 17;

We have had a royal visit, from a royal visitor. The President himself has been with us. He arrived on Friday, reviewed my corps of three divisions on Saturday, dined with a party of general officers at Bragg's, and left on Sunday. The review was a great affair; everything went off admirably, and he was highly gratified with the result—said they were the best-appearing troops he had seen, well appointed and well clad. The sight was very imposing, and, as it was my corps, very gratifying to me, as you may suppose. There was some correspondent of the Rebel at Chattanooga who came with the President, and who gave his accoimt of the spectacle; I cut it out and enclose it to you. We had a great wedding the other day, as you will also see by the accompanying notice. It was no other than the redoubtable John Morgan. He was married, as you see, by a lieutenant-general, a select company present — Generals Bragg, Hardee, Breckimidge, Cheatham, etc. It is an historical event.i

In accordance with his settled determination to carefully avoid all public exercise of his priestly fimctions, General Polk at first thought to decline the request

I The account of this marriage given in Bryant's "History of the United States/' and its 8tat«ments as to the part borne by General Polk, it is needless to say, are fictitious.

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which was made him to act upon that occasion; but upon reflection he concluded to gratify the gallant general, who at Hartsville had just accomplished a brilliant feat in the capture of the position with a large number of prisoners, and who then was upon the eve of departing upon an expedition into Kentucky, for the purpose of harassing the communications of the enemy.

The visit which Mr. Davis m^e to this department at this period was the more important because it was the first time he had personally inspected the army in the west, its field of operation and its resources ] and such was his infiuence that this visit was counted upon by many as a means of checking the discontent in the army and among the people, due to the disappointments of the military operations just closed. It is diflBcult to state how far these anticipations were realized as regards the people, but they were fully realized as regards the army, for the enthusiasm which his presence and cheering words created gave an assurance of a greater success than was to be attained in the battle soon to be fought at Murfreesboro.

In this battle, as at Perryville, there was desperate fighting on both sides, great carnage, and a result hardly proportionate to the loss involved.

But we leave the battle in its details to the general historian. Our duty will be confined to mentioning such general matter connected with it as may be necessary to explain the part taken in it by the forces imder General Polk.

General Rosecrans moved on Murfreesboro with 46,940 men, and fought the battle with 43,400.

The army under him was divided into three corps: General McCook's, consisting of three divisions, imder Johnston, Davis, and Sheridan 3 General Thomas's, con-

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sisting of two divisions, under Negley and Rousseau; and General Crittenden's, composed of three divisions, under Wood, Palmer, and Van Cleve.

General Bragg's army was divided into two corps of two divisions each, commanded by Generals Polk and Hardee; a reserve division of three brigades under General McCownj and the cavalry imder Generals Wheeler, Wharton, and Pegram: the whole numbering 37,712 men,—about 10,000 men less than the force opposed to him during the campaign. This difference in the relative number of the forces should be borne in mind, because the statement that General Rosecrans fought the battle with 43,400 men might be construed as indicating the number employed throughout the movement. Such was not the case, however, the actual number brought to bear at Murfreesboro being 46,940.

The Federal army occupied Nashville, its right extending toward Franklin and its left toward Lebanon. General Bragg's center was at Murfreesboro under General Polk, his right at Reedyville under General McCown, and his left at Triune and Eagleville under Greneral Hardee. Such was the situation of the armies when infonnation was received, on the 26th of December, that Rosecrans was advancing. This was soon made evident by heavy demonstrations upon the outposts.

General Bragg having decided to accept battle and to defend Murfreesboro, all the forces were concentrated at that point by the 28th.

The position the commanding general of the Confederate forces determined to occupy, and from which to assume the offensive, seems to have been more favorable to the enemy than to the troops under him. Hardee, in his report, says of it:

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The field of battle offered no peculiar advantages for defense. The open fields beyond the town being fringed with dense cedar brakes, which offered excellent shelter for approaching infantry, and was almost impervious to artillery. The country on every side was entirely open and accessible to the enemy.

The field thus described lay some two and a half miles northwest of Murfreesboro, and was intei'socted by three tui*npike roads, known respectively as the Triime or Franklin road, the Wilkinscm and the Nashville roads. Stone River, between the town and the battlefield, flows through low banks of limestone, which are steep and in some places diflBcult to pass, and it gradually trends to the north as a tributary of the Cumberland. At the beginning of the battle this stream could be forded at any point without difficulty by infantry, but the usual winter rains of the region would swell it in a few hours to an impassable torrent—a fact that was soon to be realized.

Owing to a wide bend which it made opposite the town. Stone River may be said to have covered the i-ear and the right of the position ultimately ta,keu by General Bragg, and upon which the battle was chiefly fought.

A reference to the map will show that the railroad to Naslndlle, afticr crossing the river, ran alongside of it for some twelve hundred yards, then, owing to a sharp turn of the stream to the east, the relation was lost. At the point of divergence the railroad track, running through a deep cut, was not more than one hundred yards from the river, whose banks just here happened to be highest on the west side (the side of the railroad). With this river bluflf on the one side, and the deep railroad cut on the other, the narrow intervening space could be easily held by a resolute force. It was here

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that General Rosecrans placed his left, and it was this point which determined the battle in his favor.

At the time of tlie battle this space was covered with forest trees, which extended thence as far as the Nashville turnpike, some one hundred yards to the west. It is called in official reports the " Round Forest," but was known to the soldiers as " HelPs Half Acre.''

General Rosecrans completed his formation on the afternoon of December 30. His left rested upon Stone River at the Round Forest, extending a little to the east of the forest along the river-bank, which here overlooked the opposite shore. The line extended thence in a southwesterly dii'ectiou a(TOss the Nashville and Wilkinson turnpikes to the Franklin road, along which it ran for a short distance, and then turned west and rested upon the southern side of this latter road. With its right thus well refused and its left resting upon the river, the position of the Federal army seemed reasonably secure; and, in view of the fact that it had to conform to the Confederate line already formed, it was well placed. McCook's corps with three divisions held the right, Thomas with two divisions held the center, and Crittenden with three divisions the left. General Rosecrans planned to hold his right in position and attack with his left, crossing the river for that purpose. General Bragg the same night planned to hold his right in position and attack with his left. The one that struck first would probably be the one to carry out his plan. On the morning of the 31st both moved about the same time, but as General Bragg had the shorter distance to go his blow fell first. From that time on General Rosecrans had to conform his plan of action to General Bragg's. He did it so well that ultimately he held the field, and if he had never done anything else his conduct at Murfrees-

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boro should secure him a high place as a commanding general.

These general considerations are sufficient as an introduction to the essential parts of General Polk's report of the engagement.

On the evening of the 28th my brigades struck their tentii and retired their baggage trains to the rear, and on the moru-of the 29th they were placed in line of battle.

As the brigade composing the division of Major-General Withers had not been engaged in any heavy battles since Shiloh, 1 placed them in the first line. They extended from the river near the intersection of the Nashville turnpike and railroad, southward across the Wilkinson pike to the Triune or Franklin road, in a line irregular, but adapted to the topography.

The division of Major-General Cheatham was posted in the rear of Major-General Withers as a supporting force. The division of Major-General McCowti, of Lieutenant-General Kirby Smith's army corps, was in prolongation of that of Major-General Withers on the left, having that of Major-General Cleburne, of Lieutenant-General Hardee's corps, as its supporting force. Major-General Breckinridge's division of Lieutenant-General Hardee's corps occupied the ground on the east side of the river, in the line of Major-General Withers on the right.

The enemy moved forward, and our outposts feU back slowly, and took their place in the line of battle on the 29th.

On the 30th, in order to discover the position at which we proposed to offer battle, he moved up cautiously^ sheUing his front heavily as he advanced.

The cannonading was responded to along our line, and the theater of the impending conflict was speedily determined.

On the left of my line the skirmishing became very active, and my left brigade's front and rear became hotly engaged with the line which was being formed immediately before them. The enemy pressed forward very heavily, with both artillery and infantry, and a sharp contest ensued, in which he

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attempted with several regiments to take one of my batteries by assault, but was repulsed in the most decisive manner.

In the preliminary onset many lives were lost on both sides. It was, from its severity, an introduction to the great battle of the ensuing day, and prepared our troops for the work before them. Twilight following soon after, the enemy settled around his bivouac fires for the night.

Orders were issued by the general commanding to attack in the morning at daybreak. The attack was to be made by the extreme left, and the whole Une was ordered to swing around from left to right upon my right brigade as a pivot.

Major-General Breckinridge, on the extreme right and across the river, was to hold the enemy in observation on that flank.

At the appointed time the battle opened, evidently to the surprise of the opposing army. Major-General McCown, who was acting under the orders of Lieutenant-General Hardee, was upon them before they were prepared to receive him. He captured several batteries and one brigadier-general, woimded another, and drove three brigades—those comi>osing the division of Brigadier-General Johnston — in confusion before him.

He was followed quickly by Major-General Cleburne, as a supporting force, who occupied the space left vacant by the forward movement of MoCown, between the left of my front hue and McCown^s right. Opposing him in that spac« was the right half of the second division of Major-General McCook's corps, under command of Brigadier-General Jefferson C. Davis, to confront which he had to wheel to the right, as the right of General McCook's corps was slightly refused. Clebume^s attack, following so soon on that of McCown, caught the force in his front also not altogether prepared, and the vigor of the assault was so intense that they too yielded and were driven.

Major-General Withers's left was opposed to the left half of General Davis's division, and to the whole of General Sheridan's, commanding the Third and remaining division of General McCook's corps. The enemy's right was strongly

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posted on a ridge of rocks, with chasms intervening, and covered with a dense growth of rough cedars. Being advised of the. attack he was to expect by the fierce contest which was being waged on his right, he was fully prejmred for the onset, and this notice and the strength of his position enabled him to offer a strong resistance to Withers, whose duty it was to move next.

Colonel Loomis, who commanded the left brigade, moved up with energy and spirit to the attack. He was wounded, and was succeeded by C<^onel Coltart. The enemy met the advance with firmness, but was forced to yield. An accession of force enabled him to recover his position, and its great strength enabled him to hold it. Coltart, after a gallant charge and a sharp contest, fell back and was replaced by Colonel Vaughn of Major-General Cheatham^s division of the rear line. Vaughn, notwithstanding the difficulties of the ground, charged the position with great energy, but the enemy, entrenched behind stones covered by the thick woods, could not be moved, and Vaughn also was repulsed.

This caused a loss of time, and Cleburne's division, pressing forward, reached a point where Davis's batteries, still unmoved, by wheeling to the right enfiladed it.^ Colonel Vaughn was speedily reorganized and returned to the assault, and in conjunction with Colonel Coltart drove at the position with resistless courage and energy; and, although their losses were very heavy, the enemy could not bear up against the onset. He was dislodged and driven with the rest of the flying battalions of McCook's corps.

The brigade lost one third of all its forces. It captured two of the enemy's field-guns.

The brigade of Colonel Manigault, which was immediately on the right of that of Colonel Coltart, followed the move-

1 WhOe Cheatham was making these assaults upon Davis, General Hardee pressed forward, and his right flank became exposed to the fire of a brigade which Davis had here refused. Hardee reported the fact to General Bragg, who, unaware of the cause, inferred that Cheatham had not attacked. He wrote his report before he received those of his corps And division commanders, and in this way perpetuated the error.

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ment of the latter according to instractions. But as Coltart failed in the first onset to drive Davis's left, Manigault, after dashing forward and pressing the enemy's line,—Sheridan's division,—in his front, back upon his second line, was brought under a very heavy fire of artillery from two batteries on his right, supported by a heavy infantry force. He was therefore compelled to fall back.

In this charge the brigade suffered severely, sustaining a heavy loss in officers and men; but the gallant South Carolinian returned to the charge a second and a third time, and, being aided by the brigade of General Maney, of the second line, which came to his relief with its heavy Napoleon guns and a deadly fire of musketry, the enemy gave way and joined his comrades on the right, in their precipitate retreat across the Wilkinson pike. This movement dislodged and drove back Sheridan's division, and completed the forcing of the whole of McCook's corps out of its line of battle and placed it in full retreat. The enemy left one of his batteries, of four guns, on the field, which fell into the hands of Maney's brigade. . . .

The front of Manigault and Maney being free, they swung round with our lines on the left, and joined in pressing the enemy and his reinforcements in the cedar-brake.

At 9 A.M. Brigadier-General Patton Anderson, on Mani-gault's right, moved in conjunction with this brigade upon the line in its front. That line rested with its right near the Wilkinson pike, and is understood to have been General Negley's division of General Thomas's corps, which constituted the center of the enemy's line of battle. This division, with that of Rousseau in reserve, was posted on the edge of a dense cedar-brake, with an open space in front, and occupied a position of strength not inferior to that held by Davis's left. His batteries, which occupied commanding positions and enabled him to sweep the open field in his front, were served with admirable skill and vigor, and were strongly supported. Anderson moved forward with his brigade with firmness and decision. The fire of the enemy, of both artillery and infantry, was terrific, and his left for a moment wavered. Such evi-

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dences of destructive firing as were left on the forest from which this brigade emerged have rarely, if ever, been seen. The timber was torn and crashed. Nothing but a charge could meet the demands of the occasion. Orders were given to take the batteries at all hazards, and it was done. They were carried in gallant style. Artillerists were captured at their pieces, a large number of whom, and of their infantry supports, were killed upon the spot, and one company entire, with its officers and colors, was captured. The number of field-guns captured in this movement was eight, which together with four others, from which the gunners had been driven by the heavy firing from Maney^s long-range guns and Manigault's musketry on the left, made twelve taken on that part of the field. This was one of the points at which we encountered the most determined opposition, but the onward movement of the Mississippians and Alabamans was irresistible, and they swept the enemy before them, driving him into the dense cedar-brake to join the extending line of fugitives.

This work, however, was not done without a heavy loss of officers and men.

The supporting brigade of General Anderson, commanded by Brigadier-General Stewart, moved with that of Anderson. It was ordered by the division commander, Major-General Withers,—who was in command of Major-General Cheatham's two right brigades, as Major-General Cheatham was of his two left,— to move to the support of the left regiments of Anderson, which were pressed. These regiments, which had suffered greatly, he replaced, and, moving forward, attacked the enemy and his reinforcements on Anderson's left. After strong resistance they were driven back, shattered and in confusion, to join the hosts of their flying comrades in their retreat through the cedars. In their flight they left two of their field-guns, which fell into the hands of Stewart's brigades.

Brigadier-General Chalmers's brigade, the remaining one of those constituting my front line, whose right flank rested on the river, was the last to move. This brigade, owing to its position in the line, was called on to encounter a measure of personal suffering from exposure beyond that of any other in

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my earps. The part of the line that it occupied lay across an open field, in full view of the enemy, and in range of his field-guns. It had thrown up a slight rifie-pit behind which it was placed, and to escape Qbservation it was necessary for it to lie down and abstain from building fires. In this position it remained awaiting the opening of the battle for more than forty-eight hours, wet with rain and chilled with cold; added to this the enemy's shot and shell were constantly passing over it. Not a murmur of discontent was heard to escape those who composed it. They exhibited the highest capacity of endurance and firmness in the most discouraging circumstances.

In its front lay the right of Brigadier-General Palmer's division of Major-General Crittenden's corps, which constituted the left wing of the enemy's line of battle.

The general movement from the left having reached Chalmers's brigade at ten o'clock, it was ordered to the attack, and its reserve, under Brigadier-General Donelson, was directed to move forward with support. The charge was made in fine style, and met by the enemy, who was strongly posted in the edge of the cedar-brake, with a murderous fire of artillery and infantry. In this charge their brigade commander, General Chalmers, was severely wounded by a sheU, which disqualified him for further duty on the field. The regiments on the left recoiled and fell back; those of the right were moved to the left to hold their place, and were pressed forward. The brigade of General Donelson, having been ordered forward to Chalmers's support, moved with steady step upon the enemy's position, and attacked it with great energy. The slaughter was terrific on both sides in this charge, which resulted in breaking the enemy's line at every point except at his extreme left, and driving him as every other part of his Unes attacked had been driven. Donelson reports the capture of eleven guns and about one thousand prisoners. The regiments of Chalmers's brigade, having been separated after he fell, moved forward and attached themselves to other commands, fighting with them with gallantry as opportunity offered.

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There was no instance of more disting^aished bravevy exhibited during the battle than was shown by the command of General Donelson. In the charge which it made it was brought directly under the fire of several batteries strongly posted and supported, which it assaulted with eager resolution. All the line in the front was carried except the extreme right.

This point, which was the key to the enemy^s position, and was known as the Bound Forest, was attacked by the right of the brigade. It was met by a fire from artillery and musketry, which mowed down more than half its number. The 16th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, under the command of Colonel John H. Savage, lost 207 out of 402. It could not advance and would not retire. Their colonel, with characteristic bravery and tenacity, deployed what was left of his command as skirmishers, and held his position for three hours. In the 8th Tennessee, of the right wing, under the lamented Colonel Moore, who fell mortally wounded, and who was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. Anderson, the loss was 306 men and officers out of 425.

The enemy was now driven from the field at all points occupied by him in the morning, along his whole line from his right to his extreme left, and was pressed back until our line occupied a position at right angles to that which was held at the opening of the battle. After passing the Nashville and Murfreesboro turnpike, his flight was met by large bodies of fresh troops and numerous batteries of artillery, and the advance of our exhausted columns was checked.

His extreme left alone held its position. This occupied a piece of ground well chosen and defended, the river being on the one hand and a deep railroad cut on the other. It was held by a strong force of artillery and infantry, well supported by a reserve composed of Brigadier-General Wood's division.

My last reserve having been exhausted, the brigades of Major-General Breckinridge's division and a small brigade of General J. K. Jackson's, posted to guard our right flank, were the only troops left that had not been engaged. Four of these

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were ordered to report to me. They came in detachments of two brigades each, the first arriving near two hours after Don-elson's attack, the other aboat an hour after the first. The commanders of these detachments—the first composed of the brigades of Generals Adams and Jackson, the second (under General Breckinridge in person) consisting of the brigade of General Preston and Colonel Palmer—had pointed out to them the particular object to be accomplished, to wit: to drive in the enemy^s left, and especially to dislodge him from his position in the Round Forest. Unfortunately, the opportune moment for putting in these detachments had passed.

Could they have been thrown upon the enemy's left, immediately following Chalmers's and Donelson's assault, in quick succession, the extraordinary strength of his position would have availed him nothing. That point would have been carried, and his left, driven back on his panic-stricken right, would have completed his confusion and ensured an utter rout. It was, however, otherwise, and the time lost between Donelson's attack and the coming up of these detachments in succession enabled the enemy to recover his self-possession, to mass a number of heavy batteries, and concentrate a strong infantry force on the position, and thus make a successful attack very difficult. Nevertheless the brigades of Adams and Jackson assailed the enemy's line with energy, and after a severe combat were compelled to fall back. They were promptly rallied by General Breckinridge, who, having preceded his other brigades, reached the ground at that moment; but as they were very much cut up they were not required to renew the attack.

The brigades of Preston and Palmer, on arriving, renewed the assault with the same undaunted determination, but as another battery had been added, since the previous attack, to a position already strong and difficult of access, this assault was alike ineffectual. The enemy, though not driven from his position, was severely punished, and as the day was far spent it was not deemed advisable to renew the attack that evening, and the troops held the line they occupied for the night. The following morning, instead of finding him in

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position to receive a renewal of the attack, showed that, taking advantage of the night, he had abandoned the last position of his first line, and the opening of the new year fonnd us masters of the field.

The battle of the 31st of December developed, in all parte of the field wliich came under my observation, the highest qualities of the soldier among our troops. The promptness with which they moved upon the enemy whenever they were called to attack him, the vigor and ^lan with which their movements were made, the energy with which they assaulted his strong positions, and the readiness with which they responded to the call to repeat their assaults, indicated a spirit of dauntless courage which places them in the very front rank of the soldiers of the world. For the exhibition of these high traite they are not a little indebted to the example of their officers, whose courage and energy had won their confidence and admiration.

The 1st of January passed without any material movement on either side, beyond occasional skirmishing along the lines in our front. I ordered Chalmerses brigade^ now commanded by Colonel White, to occupy the ground in rear of the Round Forest just abandoned by the enemy. This it did, first driving out his pickets.

On the 2d there was skirmishing during the morning. In the afternoon, about three o'clock, General Bragg announced his intention to attack the enemy, who was supposed to be in force on the north side of the river, and ordered me to reheve two of General Breckinridge's brigades, which were still in my front, and send them over to that officer, who had returned to his post, as he proposed to make the attack with the troops of Breckinridge's division. I issued the necessary orders at once, and the troops were transferred as directed. The general commanding ordered me also to open fire with three batteries, which had been placed in Chalmers's line, to distract the enemy at the time of Breckinridge's attack, and to shell out of the woods which covered his line of movement any sharpshooters who might annoy him while approaching the river.

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The shelling ordered, which was to be the signal for Breckinridge's advance, was promptly executed, and the woods were cleared. Of the particulars of this moyement General Breckinridge will speak in his own report.

When the firing of my batteries was opened as above, there was a forward movement of the enemy's infantry upon my pickets in the Round Forest, and a sharp conflict which lasted for some time and ended in the enemy regaining possession of the forest. The position being of much value to us, I found it necessary to regain it, and gave the requisite orders. On the following morning I ordered a heavy fire of artillery from several batteries to open upon it, and, after it had been thoroughly shelled, detachments from the brigades of Colonels White and Coltart charged it with the bayonet at double quick and put the enemy to flight, clearing it of his regiments, and capturing a lieutenant-colonel and thirteen men.

The enemy, however, knew the importance of the position also, and was occupied during the day in throwing up earthworks for the protection of batteries within reach.

These being completed, he reopened fire from three points, with batteries of heavy guns, and placed it imder a concentrated fire for many minutes. It was a severe ordeal, and was followed by a,charge of a heavy force of infantry. But our gallant troops met the advance with firmness, and after a severely contested struggle drove back the advancing column with slaughter and held possession of the coveted position.

This contest closed the operations of my corps in the field in front of Murfreesboro.

By orders from the general conmianding, after being eight days under arms and in actual battle of heavy skirmishing, in the rain and cold, without tents, and much of the time without fires, my troops were retired from the field, and ordered to take a position near Shelbyville. This they did at their leisure and in perfectly good order.

In all the operations in which they were engaged no troops ever displayed greater gallantry or higher powera of endurance. They captured 1500 prisoners and 26 guns.

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A reference to the report of General Hardee will show the brilliant work accomplished by his two divisions upon the right flank and rear of the Federal army. He carried everything before him from the left forward and to the right, untU, in conjunction with Polk, the Federal army was forced back to a position at right angles to that which it occupied at the beginning of the battle.

It is true that he met with less resistance than Cren-eral Polk, yet but for the masterly handling of his di\4-sions Polk's success would have fallen short of what he actually accomplished.

General Polk's advance was an unremitting contest all through the day tiU late in the afternoon. Attacking from left to right successively, his enemy, strongly posted, and warned by the approaching roar of battle, was always ready to receive him, whether attacked upon front or flank. Driving before it such stubborn fighters as Sheridan and Thomas, his corps made a magnificent display of enduring courage from one end of its line to the other. Finally, emerging from the cedars, it allied itself with its companion corps, and together they bore down upon the new line to which the Federal army had been driven. This line, placed along the cover of the railroad track, had been constructed by General Rose-crans with marvelous rapidity and dexterity. Placing his reserves, he supported them with his artillery, and as his broken divisions emerged from the cedars he gave them this nucleus upon which they were speedUy aligned. Here he offered such stubborn resistance that Polk and Hardee could go no farther. But, in spit-e of aU this, victory might have still been won could General Bragg have utilized his reserves as General Rosecrans had done his. General Bragg did not fail to see the necessity for such action, and had he done so Polk and Hardee would

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have warned him. Hardee asked for Breckinridge upon the left flank early in the action, and Polk, seeing the strength of the Federal position at the Round Forest, upon two separate occasions, and in ample time before he attacked, asked that Breckinridge might be sent hiTn for use at that point. Could the Federal line have been dislodged here before two o'clock, it is difficult to believe that it could have maintained any position in front of General Bragg's army that day.

Breckinridge, however, could not be sent forward in time. He was held back because of erroneous reports as to the presence of a large body of the enemy upon the east side of Stone River, and when he arrived General Polk had already shattered his right upon the coveted position, leaving Rosecrans, better prepared than ever, to continue the resistance. The erroneous reports which thus aided so materially in the discomfiture of the Confederate army were the outcome of the absence of Morgan's cavalry, which had so recently been sent into Kentucky. Its presence would have given sufficient cavalry force to make clear the situation and thus reUeve Breckinridge.

The question has been raised as to why a heavy force of artillery was not concentrated upon the Roujid Forest early in the morning of the battle. The guns of the brigades contiguous to the position were used against it, and, as it turned out, many others might have been; but it is to be remembered that the batteries were acting with the brigades and were placed in line with them, to make sure of proper support in the advance. These batteries endeavored to foDow their commands, and some succeeded, but many of them, in their efforts to keep pace with the advance, became entangled in the cedar thickets, and ended by accomplishing but little.

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The action on the east side of the river, conducted by General Breckinridge the second day after the battle (January 2), was an isolated attack, ordered by General Bragg to secure a position occupied by the enemy the day before, and from which it was feared General Polk's right might be enfiladed. General Polk himself did not think that the position was essential to his protection, nor had he knowledge of the design to secure it until General Bragg rode over to his Une to watch the attack from the high ground. He then took the liberty of advising against it, but General Bragg thought it necessary, so it was made. The attack resulted disastrously, which made it imperative to weaken the force on the west side of the river. General Polk first sent Anderson's brigade, which arrived in time to cover Breckinridge's retreat. - General Hardee followed with Cleburne, and McCown was sent over some time after dark.

In consequence of this transfer of troops. General Bragg left but two divisions in position west of the river with which to oppose the Federal army, nearly all of which was still on that side of Stone River. Withers's division had sustained a loss of 28J per cent, in the battle, and had been further depleted by the detaching of Anderson's brigade j and Cheatham's division, while it remained intact, had sustained the frightful loss of 36 per cent., so that, all told, but 7000 infantry and artillery remained available in that wing of General Bragg's army. As night approached, rain began to fall, and it quickly became evident that the river would be unford-able before many hours, thus making very difficult any transfer of troops that might be required.

When it was known that this position was to be maintained, nothing but the most implicit confidence in General Bragg's ability to conduct the battle further could

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reconcile Cheatham and Withers to the wisdom of the decision. What they heard concerning the state of Breckinridge's division that night, and knew of the condition of McCown's and Cleburne's, who had just been alongside of them, did not tend to reassurance upon the general situation. In the absence, then, of the all-essential confidence in the commanding general, and speaking only for themselves, Cheatham and Withers wrote General Bragg at 12.15 a.m., January 3, saying that they thought the army should be put promptly in retreat, adding:

You have but three divisions that are at all reliable^ and even some of these are more or less demoralized from having some brigade commanders who do not possess the confidence of their commands. Such is our opinion, and we deem it a solemn duty to express it to you. We do fear g^eat disaster from the condition of things now existing, and think it should be averted if possible.

This note was sent through the corps commander, General Polk, who endorsed upon it:

1.30 A.M., January 3. My dear General: I send you the enclosed paper as directed, and I am compelled to add that after seeuig the effect of the operations of to-day, added to that produced upon the troops by the battle of the 31st, I very greatly fear the consequences of another engagement at this place on the ensuing day. We could now, perhaps, get off with some safety and with some credit if the afbir was well managed. Should we fail in the meditated attack, the consequence might be very disastrous.

Hoping you may be guided aright, whatever detenpina-tion you may reach,

I am your obedient servant,

L. Polk.

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Lieutenant Richmond, General Polk's aide, took the note to General Bragg, who, upon reading it, replied, " Say to the general we shall maintain our position at every hazard."

General Polk sent the correspondence to General Hardee with General Bragg's reply, for his information, and said: " I think the decision of the general unwise, and, am compelled to add, in a high degree. I shall of course obey his orders and endeavor to do my duty. I think it due you to let you know the views of myself and my two division commanders, especially as we all believe the conflict will be severe in the morning.*'

The hint contained in General Polk's expression, "after seeing the effect of the operations of to-day," reveals the real reason for the solicitude which he and others felt concerning the situation at Murfreesboro. Whether the actual state of affairs in the army justified this solicitude may be determined by referring to the correspondence between General Bragg and his corps and division commanders, which took pla<;e soon after the army left Murfreesboro, and to which we will again refer.

At ten o'clock on the following day General Polk met General Hardee at army headquarters. General Bragg then stated that he had reason to believe that Rosecrans's strength was greater than he had at fli*st supposed, and as he was then receiving additional reinforcements he felt that, in view of the condition of his own army, a retreat should be made.

In this General Hai'dee and General Polk concurred, and that night the army withdrew. Hardee marched to TuUahoma by way of the Manchester road, and Polk retired to Shelbyville on Duck River.

General Bragg himself rode to Winchester, fifty miles from Murfreesboro, where he established his headquar-

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ters, it being his intention to place his army upon the line of the Elk River. As the enemy showed no disposition to press forward, however, Polk had halted at Shelbyville, twenty miles from Murfreesboro, and reported the fact to General Bragg. He was then directed to remain at the position. Hardee was next moved up to Wartrace, and army headquarters were placed at Tul-lahoma. This disposition of the forces secured Duck River and the rich country through which it ran, as the line for the army, which, in view of the barren country south of it, proved of great service in maintaining it through the coming six months. In fact, had Duck River been given up to the enemy, the army could not have been fed on the line of the Elk more than two months.

The battle of Murfreesboro was fought by General Bragg with 37,712 men of all arms, with a loss of 10,266, — 29 per cent., — of whicli only 981 were missing, the remainder being killed or wounded.

In Polk's cor|)S the percentage of loss was 31J per cent., of which but 135 were missing. The loss in Cheatham's division was 36 per cent., with but 65 missing ; this far exceeded the loss sustained by any command in either army.

In Hardee's coi-ps the loss was 29| per cent., including 583 missing. MrCown's division lost 214^ per cent.

General Rosecraus, conducting the campaign with 46,940 men of all arms, sustained a loss of 13,249, of which 3717 were missing, leaving a percentage of killed and wounded considerably less than that sustained by his opponent.

There appears to be some discrepancy in the figures relating to the niLssing in the Federal army, because the tabulated statement showing the number of prisoners

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captured by General Bragg during the battle places the number at 6273.* Besides this number of prisoners, General Bragg secured 30 pieces of artillery, 9 stand of colors, and 6000 stand of small arms.

During the Civil War the criticism of the newspaper press was a penalty applied ruthlessly to the commanding generals of both armies. General Bragg had alre^y received a good share consequent upon the Kentucky campaign, and, the retreat from Murfreesboro developing it afresh, he again found himself a shining mark.

Under the initation of this spur he sent the following circular letter ^ to his corps and division commanders:

January 11,1863.

General: Finding myself assailed in private and public, by the press, in private circles, by officers and citizens, for the movement from Murfreesboro, which was resisted by me for some time after advised by my corps and division commanders, and only adopted after hearing of the enemy's reinforcements by large numbers from Kentucky, it becomes necessary for me to save my fair name, if I cannot stop the deluge of abuse which will destroy my usefulness and demoralize this army.

It has come to my knowledge that many of these accusations and insinuations are from staff-officers of my generals, who persistently assert that the movement was made against the opinion and advice of their chiefs, and while the enemy was in full retreat. False or true, the soldiers have no means of judging me rightly, or getting the facts, and the effect on them will be the same,— a loss of confidence, and a consequent demoralization of the whole army.

It is only through my generals that I can establish the facts as they exist. Unanimous as you were in council in verbally

1 "Official Records, War of Rebellion,^ vol. xx, pt. i. It is probable that these figures included the Federal wouDded, all of whom again fell into the hands of Rosecrans.

2 ''OfAcial Records, War of RebeUion/' vol. xx, pL i, p. 699.

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advising a retrograde movement, I cannot doubt that you will cheerfully attest the same in writing. I desire that you will consult your subordinate commanders and be candid with me, as I have always endeavored to prove myself with you.

If I have misunderstood your advice and acted against your opinions, let me know it in justice to yourselves. If, on the contrary, I am the victim of unjust accusations, say so, and unite with me in staying the malignant slanders being propagated by men who have felt the sting of discipline.

General Smith has been called to Richmond,—it is supposed with a view to supersede me. I shall retire without a regret, if I find I have lost the good opinion of my generals, upon whom I have ever relied as upon a foundation of rock.

Your early attention is most desirable, and is urgently solicited.

Most respectfully.

Your obedient servant,

Braxton Bbago, General^ C. S. A.

I enclose copies of a joint note received about two o'clock A.M. from Major-General Cheatham and Major-General Withers, on the night before we retired from Murfreesboro; with Lieutenant-General Polk's endorsement and my own verbal reply to Lieutenant Richmond, General Polk's aide-de-camp.

General Bragg's letter reached General Polk's headquarters on the 12th, and he being absent from the army on a short leave. General Cheatham, temporarily in command of the corps, received it. After consultation with General Withers, it was concluded to postpone a detailed reply to the communication until the subject could be discussed with General Polk. Pending his return, Cheatham, however, determined to place General Bragg's mind at rest upon the question of his willingness to assuiiie all responsibility for the note

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which he had written from the battlefield, and a copy of which, as we have seen above, General Bragg now laid before the army.

Speaking only for himself, he therefore sent the following letter:

January 13. General: Since this army commenced falling back from Murfreesboro, 1 have upon all occasions, public and private, stated that 1 myself was one of the first to suggest the movement, and fuUy endorsed it.

Respectfully yours,

B. F. Cheatham, Mc^-General,

As soon as General Hardee received General Bragg's letter he called together his commanders, and after a conference made the following reply: ^

TuLiiAHOMA, Tenn., January 12,1863.

General: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of yesterday, in which, after informing me of the assaults to which you are subjected, you invoke a response in regard to the propriety of the recent retreat from Murfrees-boro, and request me to consult my subordinate commanders in reference to the topics to which you refer.

You will readily appreciate the deUcate character of the inquiries you institute, but I feel, under the circumstances, that it is my duty to reply with the candor you solicit, not only from personal respect to yourself, but from the magnitude of the public interests involved.

In reference to the retreat you state that the movement from Murfreesboro was resisted by you for some time after advised by your corps and division commanders j no mention of retreat was made to me until early on the morning of the 3d of January, when Lieutenant Richmond, of General Polk's staff, read me the general's note to you, and informed me of your verbal reply. I told him under the circumstances noth-

1 •'Olftcial Records, War of Rebellion," vol. xx, pt. 1, p. 682.

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ing ooiild be done then. About ten o'clock the same day I met you personally at your quarters in compliance with your request. Lieutenant-General Polk being present, you informed me that the papers of General McCook had been captured, and from the strength of his corps, 18,000, it appeared that the enemy was stronger than you had supposed, that General Wheeler reported that he was receiving heavy reinforcements, and, after informing us of these facts, suggested the necessity of retreat, and asked my opinion as to its propriety.

Having heard your statements and views, I fully concurred, and it was decided to retreat. No proposition to retreat was made by me or my division commanders which was resisted by you for some time, and I recall your attention to the fact. Afterward in the evening, about seven o'clock, we met to arrange details, and, the retreat being still deemed advisable, and having been partially executed, I concurred in an immediate movement, in view of the heavy losses we had sustained and the condition of the troops.

You also request me to consult my subordinate commanders, stating that General Smith has been called to Richmond with the view, it was supposed, to supersede you, and that you will retire without regret if you have lost the good opinion of your generals, upon whom you have ever reUed as upon a foundation of rock.

I have conferred with Major-General Breckinridge and Major-General Cleburne in regard to this matter, and I feel that frankness compels me to say that the general officers, whose judgment you have invoked, are unanimous in their opinion that a change in the command of this army is necessary. In this opinion I concur. I feel assured that this opinion is considerately formed, and with the highest respect for the purity of your motives, your energy, and your personal character^ but they are convinced, as you must feel, that the peril of the country is superior to all personal considerations.

You state that the staff-officers of your generals, joining in the public and private clamor, have within your knowledge

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persistently asserted that the retreat was made against the opinion and advice of their chiefs.

I have made inquiry of the gentlemen associated with me, and they inform me that such statements have not been made or circulated by them.

I have the honor. General, to assure you of my continued respect and consideration, and to remain,

Tour obedient servant, W. J. Hardee, Lieutenant' General, General Braqg, Grtneral Commanding.

Gtenerals Cleburne and Breckinridge wrote Cteneral Bragg in the same respectful spirit, and to the same effect, saying that this opinion was not alone theirs, but was fully shared by their brigade and other subordinate commanders, who also saw that be " did not possess the confidence of his army to that degree necessary to secure success/' *

In some way the facts of this singular correspondence were reported at Richmond, and, as a result, the Pi*esi-dent instructed General Johnston, in a letter dated January 22, to proceed promptly to the headquarters of General Bragg's army, and there, after conversation with General Bragg and others of his command, decide what the best interests of the service required, and then to give him (the President) the advice which he needed at that juncture. The President said:

The answers, I am informed, have been but partially given, but are so far indicative of a want of confidence such as is essential to success. The enemy is said to be preparing to advance, and, though my confidence in General Bragg is unshaken, it cannot be doubted that, if he is distrusted by his

1 "OffloUa Records, War of Rebellion,'* vol. xx, pt 1, pp. 683, 684.

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officers and troops, a disaster may result, whioh, but for that eause, would have been avoided.

General Polk, returning from his leave of absence, reached the army simultaneously with General Johnston. General Bragg's letter had been forwarded to him, so that he was already familiar with its contents. A conference with his commanders revealed the fact that there was a difference of opinion as to the exact purport of the letter, some placing a different construction upon its meaning than that which had already been given it by General Hardee and his subordinates. In the face of this difference of opinion, Polk, although he agreed with General Hardee's construction, felt that he could not send his reply until the question was made clear to his subordinates. He therefore addressed General Bragg the following letter:

TuLLAHOMA, Tbnn., January 30,1863. General Braxton Bragg,

Gommandhxg Army of Tennessee, General: Your circular of the 11th instant was received by me at Asheville, N, C, on the 17th instant. I dispatched you immediately, saying I would leave for your headquarters in two days thereafter, and would furnish you the reply you desired on my arrival. There seemed to be two points of inquiry embraced in your note: first, whether the corps and division commanders to whom it is addressed were wiUing to give you a statement in writing of the opinions and counsel which they gave you verbally as to the retreat from Mur-freesboro; second, whether you had lost the confidence of your general officers as a military commander. From the structure of yoiur note, the first of the inquiries appears to be its leading object; the second, though not so clearly and separately stated, nevertheless is, to my mind, plainly indicated. Upon inquiry, I find this indication seems not to have

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been so clear to the mind of General Cheatham and such other of my subordinate officers as responded, when they penned their replies; and since, in your note, you appeal to our official relations and to our candor for a frank expression of our opinion, I feel, to avoid being placed in a false position, that it is due to my subordinate officers and to myself, as well as to you, to ask whether the construction I put upon your note is that you design.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. Polk.

In reply the following answer was promptly received:

TuLLAHOMA, Tenn., January 30,1863. Lieut.-Gbneral Polk, etc.:

General: 1 hasten to reply to your note of this morning, so as to place you beyond all doubt in regard to the construction of mine of the 11th instant. To my mind, that circular contained but one point of inquiry, and it certainly was intended to contain but one, and that was to ask of my corps and division commanders to commit to writing what had transpired between us in regard to the retreat from Murfreesboro. I believed it had been grossly and intentionally misrepresented (not by any one of them) for my injury. It was never intended by me that this should go farther than the parties to whom it was addressed, and its only object was to relieve my mind of all doubt, while I secured, in a form to be preserved, the means of defense in the future, when discussion might be proper. The paragraph relating to my supersedure was only an expression of the feeling with which I should receive your replies, should they prove I had been misled in my construction of your opinion and advice.

I am. General, very respectfully, etc.,

Braxton Brago,

General Commanding.

This letter effectually debarred General Polk and his subordinate's from any expression touching the question

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of confidence in General Bragg as commander of the army, so Polk's reply was restricted, as follows:

TuLLAHOMA, January 31, 1863. General: I am in receipt of yours of the 30th inst. in reply to mine of the same date ; in it you say you designed the circular should contain but one point of inquiry, and that was whether your corps and division commanders would give you for future reference a statement of what transpired between us in regard to the retreat from Murfreesboro. I have therefore now to say that the opinion and counsel which I gave you on that subject prior to the retreat are those that are embodied in my endorsement of the note of my division commanders, Generals Cheatham and Withers, of the 3d of January, which are in your possession, and I have to add that they were deliberately considered, and are such as I would give again under the same circumstances. Respectfully, General, yours,

L. Polk, Lieutenant'General Commanding. General Bragg, Commanding Army of Tennessee.

Two days after this letter was delivered, General Polk learned that his action in the matter was exposing him to the criticism of General Hardee and the general offl cers of that coi-ps. He found they were disposed to think that he and his general officers had evaded the real issue, which, in spite of General Bragg's letter of the 30th, General Hardee and his officers insisted was the question of confidence in General Bragg as commander of the army. He also learned that there was a feeling among them that, in view of the investigation then being conducted by the government through General Johnston, this action on the part of General Polk left the officers of Hardee's corps in the unenviable position of mere " discontents.''

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General Bragg's letter made it impossible for Polk to place himself and his subordinates before General Johnston in the position occupied by Hardee and his officers. In justice, therefore, first to his brother officers and then to himself, but more than all in behalf of what he and all the other general officers believed to be the public good, he adopted the only course open to him. He wrote directly to Mr. Davis, accompanying the letter with all the correspondence that had passed between General Bi'agg, himself, and his generals, beginning with the first note written by Cheatham and Withers from the field, 12.15 a.m., Januaiy 3, and ending witli his own to General Bragg of January 31.

Headquarters Polk's Corps, Army of Tennessee,

February 4,1863.

My dear Sir: I know that you have been apprised of a correspondence which has taken place between General Bragg and the corps and division commanders of Hardee's corps, of this army, following upon the retreat from Murfreesboro. As the same circular which was answered by the officers of Hardee's corps was received by those of mine, I think it proper to send you a copy of the correspondence which passed between General Bragg and myself. You will find it enclosed with this. . . .

This correspondence has been very unfortunate, and its inauguration ill-judged; but it is now a part of the history of the times, and I feel it to be my duty to transmit to you copies of the letters which have passed between the general and myself. That correspondence speaks for itself. I thought, with the officers of Hardee's corps, that he desired an opinion on two points. Some of my subordinate commanders had thought, and others then thought, that he desired us to reply to but one. As he desired us to consult our subordinates before answering, the difference of opinion as to the construction of his note made it plainly proper to ask him which was the proper construction. To have this was necessary to

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an intelligible and satisfactory reply. It will be seen what the reply was, which made my final answer plain and easy. I think it would not be dificnlt, from the form of my note, for him to have inferred what my answer would have been if he had asked. It was waived and deolined. Under the circumstances it would seem to have been natural for him to desire to know the opinions of all, as he had been forced to know those of half of his subordinates of the highest grade, but, as I have said, it was declined. I feel it a duty to say to you that, had I and my division commanders been asked to answer, our replies would have coincided with those of the officers of the other dorps. You have known my opinions on this subject since my visit to Richmond.

I have only to add, if he were Napoleon or the great Frederick, he would serve our cause at some other point better than here. My opinion is he had better be transferred. I remember you having said, speaking of his being transferred from this command, *' I can make good use of him here in Richmond." I have thought that the best disposition for him and for the service of the army that could be made. His capacity for organization and discipline, which has not been equaled among us, could be used by you at headquarters with infinite advantage to the whole army.

I think, too, that the best thing to be done in supplying his place would be to give his command to General Joseph E. Johnston. He will cure all discontent and inspire the army with new life and confidence. He is here on the spot, and I am surer will be content to take it. If General Lee can command the principal army in his department in person, there is no reason why General Johnston should not. I have, therefore, as a general officer of this army, speaking in behalf of my associates, to ask respectfully that this appointment be made, and I beg to be permitted to do this urgently. The state of this army demands inmiediate attention, and its position before tiie enemy, as well as the mind of its troops and commanders, could find relief in no way so readily as by the appointment of General Joseph E. Johnston.

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This letter fulfilled all that General Polk could do under the circumstances, and it presented to the government the state of affairs in that anny in a way that no other officer had been able to do. This arose from the fact that at the close of the Kentucky campaign, a8 has been said, he was sent to Richmond at the request of the President, that he might be conferred with personally upon the state of affairs in the department, and, while there, had been asked categorically as to the degree of confidence with which General Bragg had inspired his army. He had even then been compelled to say that General Bragg no longer held the confidence of his army, and, in answer to a query as to who should succeed him, had suggested General Joseph E. Johnston. These facts are alluded to in the sentence of the above letter, " You have known my opinions on this subject since my visit to Richmond."

General Johnston bestowed three weeks upon the investigation, " and then advised against General Bragg's removal, because the field-officers of the army represented that the men were in high spirits and as ready as ever for fight; such a condition seeming to me incompatible with the alleged want of confidence in their general's want of abiUty.'' ^

This decision left the case about as it was before the inquiry began, and did not satisfy the government, because on March 9 General Johnston was ordered to assume command of the Army of Tennessee, and to order General Bragg to report to the War Department at Richmond for conference.

General Johnston accordingly, on March 18, without the publication of a formal order to that effect, as-

1 "Johnston's Narrative," p. 62.

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sumed the duties of commander of the army. But he evidently and naturally preferred not to be made the channel through which General Bragg's supersedure should proceed, and on April 10, under the plea of not being well, said that he was not then able to serve in the field, and consequently General Bragg was necessary there as the commander of the army.

Pending this action of April 10, and while Genend Johnston was exercising command, a staff-officer of the President's (Colonel W. Preston Johnston) being present making a general inspection of the army, General Polk wrote Mr. Davis the following letter, which no doubt accurately stated General Johnston's position in the investigation which the government had placed upon him.


Headquabters Polk's Corps, Shelbyville, March 30,1863. His Excellency, President Davis, Richmond, Ya, :

Colonel [W. P.] JohnstoD has been with me since Saturday. He has made known the object of his coming, and I have discussed the points submitted with him freely.

My views in regard to the condition of things here are mature and clear. He informs me he finds them to be such as are entertained in the other corps. They are those I expressed to you in a letter I addressed to you some time since, enclosing a copy of a correspondence. The grounds on which they rest I have submitted to Colonel Johnston.

My idea is—my conviction, rather—that if the presence and ofiOices of General Bragg were entirely acceptable to this army, the highest interests—military interests—of the Confederacy would be consulted by transferring him to another field, where his peculiar talent—that of organization and discipline—could find a more ample scope. For that kind of service he has undoubtedly peculiar talent. His tastes and natural inclination fit him for it, and he has now the ad-

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vantage of large and fresh experience. The application of that talent is not always easy or agreeable where it exists. Yet there are few armies which would not be benefited by it, even if the benefit came from without.

My opinion is that the general could be of service to all the armies of the Confederacy if placed in the proper i>osition. Such a position would be that of a place in the Adjutant- and Inspector-Generars Department at Richmond. Assign him the duties of Inspector-General. If the duties are attended to as the imperfectly organized and disciplined condition of our troops require, they will furnish full employment for any single mind. And, from my observation while in Richmond, it will be a great relief to General Cooper, whose energy and business capacity, great as they are, seemed well-nigh overtaxed.

The general could not object to the position on the score of rank, as the ranking officer of the army now holds that position. It is as competent to assign General Bragg as any other officer to that duty, and, as his specialty is that which the office of Inspector-General covers, his resources and capacity would be felt throughout the army, and the whole family of idlers, drones, and shirks of high and low degree, far and near, would feel his searching hand, and be made to take their places and do their duty.

Besides, I think, with a proper presentation of the importance of the duties to bo performed, liis acknowledged ability for their performance, etc., he would accept with pleasure— at least untU he had reduced things all round to order.

This done, the way is clear for assigning General Johnston to the command of this army, a measure which would give universal satisfaction to the officers and men.

Colonel Johnston informed me that he tliinks General Johnston desires to keep General Bragg in his present position. I think the case would be more properly stated by saying that he does not wish to be, or seem to be, the cause of his removal. I have conversed with him on the subject, and he feels a delicacy, as I understand it, in touching the case of a man to whose command he might succeed in the event of

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his being removed from it. I do not think I misapprehend his feelings, though of course think them morbid, and, in the present relations of the parties, misplaced.

I know that General Johnston thinks himself but half employed, and that he would be much better satisfied commanding an army in the field than doing the duties of administering a department. If it should be thought that he could not take charge of operations in the field, and administer the three departments now under his care, then separate Pemberton^s, and restrict him to East Tennessee and Department No. 2. These go well together, and both he and Pem-berton might report to you at Richmond. Whether General Johnston is the best man for the place or not, is not the question; the army and the West believe so, and both would be satisfied with the appointment, and I believe it the best that could be made.

But General Johnston's letter of April 10 practically closed the subject, and secured to General Bragg a continuance of the command of the army.

General Johnston remained at Tullahoma until May 9, when the government ordered him to Mississippi to take command of the forces opposing General Grant.

It is readily seen that after such a correspondence and investigation the relations between General Bragg and his general officers wei-e necessarily strained, but it did not interfere with the improvement of the army, which, in other respects, increased in efficiency every day. This condition of affairs, graphically pictured in the following extracts from General Polk's letters to his wife, is a speaking tribute to the good sense and patriotism of General Bragg and his suV)ordinates, showing, as it does, that, in spite of serious differences, the common good was

sedulously cai'cd for.

Shelbyville, March 30,1863. ... I have to-day had a review of my whole corps for the benefit of President Davis, in the person of his aide-de-camp,

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Colonel W. Preston Johnston. It was a fine affair, and all things went off satisfactorily. The troops looked very well, and I never saw them march so well. My corps was never in better condition, and is now about 20,000 strong. I confess I felt proud of the fellows as they marched by me today. In their hearts is embodied as large and as intense an amount of rebellion as was ever concentrated in the same number of men. It is a pleasure to command such men. Johnston was highly pleased and very complimentary.

Shelbyville, April 11,1863.

... I have just returned from Tullahoma, where I have been for the last three days. I went up to see Generals Johnston, Bragg, Hardee, and Breckinridge. I saw them all; Hardee turned out his whole corps and gave us a grand review. It was my birthday, too. The review was on that day, yesterday. I reviewed the troops. The general did his best. He had sent all around for the ladies of the neighboring villages ; for you must know that he is the beau of the army, and nothing pleases him so much as to have a bevy of ladies around him. He had about 14,000 men on the field. The review was managed by Breckinridge, and he rode around the lines with ine. The day was fine—a little dusty, and the turn-out was general. The troops looked fine, and marched well. They have improved very much since he has been at Tullahoma. After the review the general had a horse-race and then a tournament. The whole affair was quite gay, and everybody seemed much pleased. It was quite an affair. I am to reciprocate the civility next week; the horse-race I shaU turn over to General Cheatham, and should be so much pleased if you and the girls could be near enough to witness and enjoy it. I shall be very willing to present my corps to him and his officers in return, as it has been drilling very steadily and is in fine plight. My corps now numbers near 20,000, and they are in high condition and full of life and spirit. General Bragg says he will make my corps a visit in a few days; so does General Johnston.

Just to think, I am fifty-seven! I have spent many of these

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years as I would not again. But in many of them I bave tried to do my duty. The Lord pardon the omissions of the past and give me grace to redeem the time in the future. Altie^ is quite well, and sends his respects to his mis-

April 16,1863. . . . General Bragg is now here visiting the corps with the view of inspecting it. He and two of his aides-de-camp dined with me to-day, with my three division commanders, Cheatham, Withers, and Stewart. ... I had a review yesterday of all my corps. General Bragg and staff present and highly pleased. Our transportation is in fine condition ; horses and mules all fat, and battery horses and batteries in fine condition. The troops have plenty of clothes and are now all well shod. We have plenty of food also, and as far as the fields before us are any indication, there never was such a wheat harvest.

In his "Three Months in the Southern States'^ Lieutenant-Colonel Premaiitle of the English army speaks of General Polk, whom he met about this time, as follows:

Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk, Bishop of Louisiana, who commands the other corps d'^armie^ is a good-looking, gentleman-like man, with all the manners and affability of a " grand seigneur." He is fifty-seven years of age, taU, upright, and looks much more the soldier than the clef gyman.

He is much beloved by the soldiers on account of his great personal courage and agreeable manners. I had already heard no end of anecdotes of him, told me by my traveling companions, who always alluded to him with affection and admiration. In his clerical capacity I had always heard him spoken of with the greatest respect.

On arriving at General Polk's, he invited me to take up my quarters with him during my stay with Bragg's army, which offer I accepted with gratitude. After dinner he told me that

1 EOs body-servant.

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he hoped his brethren in England did not very mnch condemn his present line of conduct. He explained to me the reasons which had indaced him, temporarily, to forsake the cassock and return to his old profession. He stated the extreme reluctance he had felt in taking this step, and he said that, so soon as the war was over, he should return to his episcopal avocations in the same way as a man, finding his house on fire, would use every means in his power to extinguish the flames, and would then resume his ordinary pursuits.

. . . We have prayers both morning and evening by Dr. Quintard, together with singing, in which General Polk joins with much zeal.

. . . 31st May, 5 p.m., Sunday. I was present at a great open-air preaching at General Wood's camp. Bishop Elliott preached most admirably to a congregation composed of nearly 3000 soldiers, who listened to him with the most profound attention. Generals Bragg, Polk, Hardee, Withers, Cleburne, and endless brigadiers, were also present.

... I took leave of General Polk before I turned in. His hospitality and kindness exceeded anything I could have expected. I shall always feel grateful to him on this account, and I shall never think of him without admiration for his character as a sincere patriot, a gallant soldier, and a perfect gentleman.

We now present an extract from a letter to Mrs. Polk, which, with Colonel Fremantle's comment given above, wiU present to the reader an accurate \aew of General Polk's attitude toward matters religious while serving

as a soldier.

June 14, 1863. This is Sunday, and I have just returned from church. The day is very fine and clear, and everji;hing is calm and delightful. I went to the Presbyterian Church to hear the Rev. Dr. Palmer of New Orleans. He called to see me yesterday, and we had an agp'eeable conversation on the state of the country and the army and the times. I find him always intelligent, and therefore agreeable in conversation. He preached us a very satisfactory and instructive sermon to-

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day. AH were pleased, and, as I hope, all benefited. He is to spend some time with the army, as well to aid in placing chaplains with reg^ents not supplied as to preach himself. A great and highly commendable effort is now being made by the religious bodies of the country to supply the spiritual wants of the army, and I hope the best results will follow from their effort. It is one in which I take great interest, and which I foster in every way in my power. Indeed, I think on the judicious application of the means of imparting religious instructions to the army very much depends the future condition of our people when it shall please God to relieve us from the pressure of this scourging war and restore us to peace. If we should allow our troops to give vent to their natural feeling and passions in retaliating on the enemy, we should train them up to a condition of mind totally unfitting them to fall into a well-disciplined and chastened civilization when the war shall have closed. To us this is especially important, since Hterally now the country is the army; for all the men of all classes are in the army. It is therefore of the highest importance that its moral condition should be well watched, and its spiritual condition cared for and elevated. It is important, too, that, as the army is made up of all classes of religion, all classes should be represented in their teachers, and the best specimens of their teachers should be employed to act upon them.

No more fitting opportunity will be presented than is here found for allusion to some of the personalities who, as specimens of their class, were chaplains in this army. It is needless to say that in tlieir representative capacity they presented wide differences of type. On the one hand was found the representative of the Covenanter, on the other hand the more aesthetic exponent of the Anglican faith, who by his good-fellowsliip, and, in one noted instance, familiarity with medie^ as well as sacred things, found welcome wherever he went. Upon the outskirts of this fellowship were to be found all sorts

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and conditions of chaplains, who, living and working and at times fighting alongside their charge, reached rough natures in a way that no exercise of ordinary priestly function could possibly have done. There were two of this class who even now stand well out in relief. One was a robust, aggressive, rather uncompromising man, whose lines had fallen among some of the best soldiers of the army, but who from their frontier life had acquired many ungodly habits. In one of the periods of camp life they had become rather aggressive with their cock-fighting and "keno," all of which was duly advertised and commented upon one Sunday in no gentle terms by the chaplain. That night his horse's tail was cleanly shaved; and when he appeared upon it on the march, the following day, he was met by uncomplimentary shouts about "Here's your mule," etc. Singling out the group from which the cries chiefly came, he offered to thrash any one or all of them at the next halt. From that moment he became a leader of the command, hardly second to the brigade-commander himself; and while there were occasional relapses, the brigade ultimately acquired a reasonable reputation for righteous behavior. Tlie other chaplain was a singular figure, one upon which the memory loves to dwell. Of small stature, he always looked more starved than well fed. Restless, untiring, with a keen knowledge of men, he was ever ready to adapt himself, within proper limits, to his surroundings. Well educated, an accomplished linguist, he could not merely play a good game of cards, but could soften defeat in such as were honored in his victories. But the battlefield was his strong point, where the good father, well up behind the line of battle, with holy water and absolution repaid many a stout soul for the loss of its poor body.

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With the exception of the brilliant cavahy operations of General Van Dom and General Forrest in front of . Clolumbia, Tenn.,and the aggressions of General Wheeler and General Morgan along the front of the Federal army at Murfreesboro, the spring of 1863 passed without witnessing any miUtary movements of consequence.

General Bragg's force now numbered 44,000 men of all arms,— about 36,000 infantry and artillery and 8000 cavalry.^ This statement is meant to include the command of General Buckner, which joined the Army of Tennessee at Tullahoma in the midst of the campaign, which was initiated during the last week of June. It does not include the cavalry command of General John Morgan, which General Bragg, following his policy at Murfreesboro, had detached, but a short time before, upon the unfortunate and disastrous expedition into Ohio and Indiana.

The line occupied by the Confederate army conformed, in the main, to the course of Duck River. The left, under General Polk, rested at Shelbyville, and was extended by cavalry as far as Columbia; the right, under General Hardee, rested at Wartrace, extending thence by means of its cavalry as far as McMinnville. Earthworks of considerable extent had been constructed both at Shelbyville and Tullahoma, with a view to protection against any direct attack.

The Confederate right covered TuUahoma, and with it the main line of raUroad, which ran thence by way of

1 The division of General Breckinridge had been detached to General Johnston in Missiiialppi, where it remained until just before the battle of Chiekamanga, when it was returned to the Army of Tennessee.

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Dechard across Elk River to Cowans at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains; the road then ran through a long tunnel, skirted the base of the range, and reached the gorge of the Tennessee River at Bridgeport. Here it crossed the river and ran thence along the banks to Chattanooga. This railroad was General Bragg's only line of supply, and its general direction to his right and rear exposed it to a quick movement in that direction.

General Rosecrans had utilized his period of rest to construct a thorough system of fortifications at Mur-freesboro, which he designed for the protection of his accumulated supplies when he should move forward.

His army had been increased both in efficiency and numbers, so that on the 23d of June he was able to begin his campaign with 60,000 infantry and artillery and 10,000 cavahy.*

The plan formulated by General Rosecrans, and which he endeavored to carry out, was the turning of the Confederate right, the seizure of the railroad to their rear, and then an attempt to force them to fight him in a position of his own choosing, or else retreat by their left, thus leaving Chattanooga uncovered and open to his occupation.

In pursuance of this plan a heavy demonstration was made against General Polk at Shelbyville, under cover of which General Rosecrans, by the morning of the 27th, was s^Ae to reach Manchester, a point to the rear of General Bragg's right, and within twelve miles of Tul-lahoma.

Pending the arrival of all his forces at that point, General Rosecrans dispatched a force to destroy the

1 *< Official Records, Wmt of RebelUon,'* vol. xzJli, pt. i, p. 410.

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railroad behind General Bragg. This was accomplished in part on the 28th and 29th.

In the forward movement, the column upon the Federal right struck the advance of Gteneral Hardee's corps, which was guarding the passes at Liberty and Hoover's gaps. These two gaps, together with Guy'fe (lap, were defiles in the range of hills which separated the positions of the two armies at TuUahoma and at Murfreesboro. The turnpike roads leading south from Murfreesboro passed through these gaps, which made them strong positions at which to contest the direct advance the Federal army was thought to be making. In keeping with this view, General Bragg, who, owing to the efficiency of the Federal cavahy, had not as yet penetrated General Rosecrans' designs, and was not aware of the position upon his right which the enemy had even then reached, now (June 25) moved up all of Hardee's corps to the support of his outposts at the gaps.

On the morning of the 26th he directed Polk to advance his corps, through Guy's Gap, to the front of Shelbyville, and at daylight of the 27th assail the force pressing Hardee at Liberty Gap, it being understood that Hardee would attack from his front at the same time. General Polk suggested that the movement was imprudent and would prove just what the enemy wanted. The suggestion was not approved, however, and General Polk proceeded to carry out the command. That afternoon, however, Rosecrans' movement upon Manchester was discovered, and in consequence Polk and Hardee were ordered to withdraw to Tullahoma.

General Polk marched from ShelbyviUe early on the 27th, but such was the condition of the roads, owing to the rains, that he did not reach Tullahoma, twenty miles away, until 4 p.m. the following day. The country to the

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south of Duck River, in which the two armies were then manceuvering, being made up of a peculiarly spongy soil, which when softened by the heavy rains then falling became almost impassable for trains, and in places difficult even for horses, the condition of the roads throughout the campaign was therefore a constant obstacle to both armies.

On the morning of the 29th the Confederate army was placed in line behind the works constructed about Tulla-homa. The following, quoted from notes made by Lieutenant Richmond, shows the difficulties of the situation and the result of a military conference at headquarters :

After getting his command in position, General Polk went to General Bragg, about 9 A.M., for orders. While there, General Bragg informed the general that the enemy had destroyed the railroad at Dechard, and interrupted his communications with the rear; that the enemy's mounted force was so great as to render it impossible for Mm (General Bragg) to prevent it, and that he had determined to give the enemy battle where he then was (at Tullahoma), and for that reason would recall Walthall's brigade at AUisona Bridge. General Polk then remarked that, if it was his determination to fight there, it was very proper to recall the brigade. The general then rode along the entire lines, and, overtaking General Hardee, informed him (General Hardee) of General Bragg's determination, and told him that he (General Polk) thought that determination, under the circumstances, an injudicious one.

They then both, about 3 P.M., went by appointment to army headquarters. There was present at the conference then held. General Bragg, General Mackall, General Polk, General Hardee, and Colonel David Urquhart, who was understood as acting as General Bragg's private secretary* General Bragg asked General Polk what was his counsel. General Polk, after reminding General Bragg that his communications with his base were destroyed, took the ground that his first duty was to reestablish his communications.

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General Bragg replied that they had been reestablished since the interview of the morning. General Polk then asked: "How do you propose to maintain themt" He replied: "By posting cavalry along the line." General Polk remarked, in his opinion he had not cavalry enough at his disposal to cover other points and cover that line also, and therefore the enemy would possess himself of the line, by driving off the cavalry, in less than thirty-six hours; that if he (the enemy) did so, he would, no doubt, do it in force sufficient to hold the communicatious, iu which event he (General Bragg) would be as effectually besieged as Pemberton in Vioksburg—his sources of supplies cut off. The enemy would not strike him a blow, but reduce him by starvation, either to surrender on the spot or to retreat along the line which he had indicated, by way of Fayetteville, Himtsville, and across the Tennessee in the vicinity of Decatur. In this last event, animals and men, being exhausted for want of food, would be unfitted for resistance, and his whole wagon train, including ordnance and his artillery, would fall a prey to the enemy. It was doubtful, also, in such a case, if he could get the army itself across the river. But supposing he succeeded in this last, he would find himself in the hiUs of north Alabama without food, and his army would be forced to disperse to avoid starvation. In the mean time the enemy would pass over the moimtain, take possession of Chattanooga, and march without interruption into Georgia and the Caro-linas, taking possession of the heart of the Confederacy. To avoid all these results, his opinion was that he should fall back in the direction of his base, so as to keep the line connecting him with it all the time covered. General Bragg said: " That is all very well, but what do you distinctly propose to have donet" General Polk replied he should fall back or retreat immediately, as he did not think there was a moment to spare. "Then," said General Bragg, "you propose that we shall retreat t" General Polk said: "I do, and that is my counsel." General Hardee was then asked what he thought. He replied that General Polk's views carried great weight with them, but he was not prepared to advise a retreat. He thought it would

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be well to have some infantry sent along the line to support the cavalry, and to wait for farther developments. It was agreed that this should be done, and that the infantry should be ordered back upon the line. This closed the conference.

The Confederate army held its position until the night of the 30th, when, finding that Rosecrans, who meanwhile had assembled all his army at Manchester, was pressing to gain his rear, General Bragg withdrew, and took up a position on the south side of Elk River, prepared to dispute tliere the further progress of the enemy.

About eight o'clock General Polk, who held a position near the railroad bridge, received the following note from General Bragg at Dechard:

7 P.M., July 1.

The enemy has reached your front; close up. The question to be decided instantly: shall we fight on the Elk or take post at foot of mountain at Cowan^s f

To which General Polk replied:

You ask, " Shall we fight on the Elk or take post at foot of mountain at Cowan's t" I reply, take post at foot of mountain at Cowan's.

General Hardee, who was very uneasy at the outlook, sent tlie following notes to General Polk. From the second note it is presumed the query propounded to General Polk as to the selection of the battle-ground had been also asked of him.

Headquarters, July 1,1863.

8.30 P.M.

My dear General: I have been thinking seriously of the

condition of affairs with this army. I deeply regret to see

General Bragg in his present enfeebled state of health. If

we have a fight, he is evidently unable either to examine and

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determine his line of battle or to take command on the field. What shall we dot What is best to be done to save this army and its honor t I think we ought to counsel together. Where is Buoknerf

The enemy evidently believe we are retreating, and will press us vigorously to-morrow. When can we meett I would like Buckner to be present.

Very respectfully and truly yours,

W. J. Hardkb, Lieutenant' General.


July 1,1863.

My dear General: I have answered unhesitatingly, '' Let us fight at the mountain." This decision will render unnecessary the meeting which I sought to-night; we can talk about the matter to-morrow. I do not desire that any one but Buckner and yourself should know my anxiety. My mind is in part retieved by the decision, which I have no doubt will be made, to fight at the mountain. If asked under the circumstances named in my letter whether we ought to fight or retreat, my mind inclines now to the latter course.

Lieutenant-general Polk.

The enemy failed to attack, and gave General Bragg an opportunity to move to the mountain. On July 2 Polk's corps was ordered to proceed to Cowan, Buckner in advance of it, Hardee to move on the road to Brake-field Point, Wheeler's cavalry to cover the rear.

At Cowan the troops drew up in line of battle, both flanks protected by the mountain.

On July 2, the enemy declining the tender of battle, although engaging Wheeler's cavalry warmly, G^ene^al Bragg moved his force to Chattanooga, reaching there July 6, in good order and without serious loss.

Lieutenant Richmond, in his notes, makes this closing statement:

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Daring the retreat not a gun was lost by the corps, not a pound of ordnance or quartermaster's stores, and not $2000 worth of commissary stores, and these last were distributed to the families of soldiers at Shelbyrille.

Though there was some straggling, there were not a thousand men absent from the corps that started with it from Shelbyville; and, owing to recruits that met it on its arrival in Chattanooga and while en route^ it was absolutely 400 stronger on its arrival than when it began its retrograde movement.

This -statement of the condition of Greneral Polk's corps applies with equal force to that of General Hardee. Gteneral Hardee was a soldier who thoroughly knew the business of war, not only upon iiie march, but in the camp and upon the battlefield,^ and it was a great misfortune to the Army of Tennessee that it lost his services at this juncture. The government detached him to the command of General Johnston, where his eminent abilities as a teacher, disciplinarian, and organizer of troops were needed in the reconstruction of General Pemberton's army. As we know from these pages, he had served in the West from the outbreak of hostilities. Since the formation of this army he had occupied a most conspicuous position in every emergency which it had confronted; he had always proven himself equal to the duties devolved upon him; had held the confidence of his commanders, his associates, and his subordinates; and his troops, obeying him with a readiness which could only come from the utmost reliance, had shown their devotion to him upon every battlefield. A perfectly courageous man, he was cool and calculating in victory or defeat; quick to see an advantage, he could hurt his enemy and yet save his own men. When to these high

1 ** Life of Albert Sidney Johnston/' pp. 353, 354.

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soldierly traits are added his tact and his intimate knowledge of the government of that army, its weaknesses and its strengtli,—how to supplement the one and counteract the other,—one realizes how his absence just at this time was much more to that army than a surface view would indicate. To General Polk it was a double loss: first, of a reliable friend j second, of an associate corps-commander with whom he had, as it were, grown up. Apart from their early association in Missouri, where they first learned to know each other, the perplexities peculiar to this army, which, as officers nearest to the commanding general, they had faced since Shiloh, had developed in General Hardee a knowledge of the requirements of the situation which could only be had by long contact with them; he therefore was prepared to meet the emergencies of the position of corps-commander in this army with a completeness and efficiency impossible to one a stranger to it.

General Bragg was not as conscious of all this as he became later, for Hardee's absence during the campaign and battle of Chickamauga proved a greater loss than even his presence at Missionary Ridge proved a gain.

No doubt General Bragg would have preferred the transfer of General Polk, whom he characterized as not only lacking in promptness, but given to the exercise of too much latitude in the execution of important»orders, thus marring his plans at times. But even if these objections had been other than the mere reflections of the uncertainties of action and inadequateness of information so often evinced by the head of the army, there remained a strength in the harmony of action and feeling existing between his corps-commanders and in their combined influence with him,—for it was very real, being always exercised with scrupulous subordination and

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courtesy,—^which was sorely missed by General Bragg in the campaign then forming.

As the government appeared to view the feeling of General Bragg's subordinates toward his conduct of the campaigns and battles of his army as evidences of an insubordinate spirit on their part, or, perhaps, as was blindly charged, of selfish concern for themselves, it logically preferred to find elsewhere a successor to General Hardee. It therefore assigned General D. H. Hill, of the Army of Northern Virginia, to the position.

An ardent patriot and a gaUant soldier. General Hill had won distinction as a division commander in many battles in Virginia. He now entered upon his duties on his new field in a manner which promised a fulfillment of every expectation from the government and from his friends.^

The loss of the army at Vicksburg, with the defeat at Gettysburg, impressed General Polk so deeply that he concluded to take council with General Hardee upon the military situation. To this end he wrote, July 30th:

My dear General: In reflecting on the situation, it seems to me that things are not wearing a promising aspect, and that some change in our programme might not be amiss.

It appears from our advices, that Grant, for the want of water, has ceased his march from Jackson eastward, and has returned to Vicksburg. It is also reported that he is sending one of his corps, McPherson's, to the east, to cooperate with Meade against Lee, and with the rest he is preparing to move against Mobile. Suppose this to be so; the question then arises, what disposition is best for our own forces?

If I am rightly informed as to Genl. Johnston's strength,

1 General Hill had served with Geneml Bragg during the Mexican War, holding the position of lieutenant in Bragg's battery. General Thomas also was an officer in the same battery.

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it is hardly sufficient to resist a combination of Grant and Banks, and must be content with checking their onward movement only. It is not sufficient to do more, and first or last Alabama will be over-run in spite of him. If that be so, could not a better office be found for Genl. Johnston and his army? I think there could.

That office would be to have the General ordered to this point with his whole army, excepting certain small detachments, and to have him placed in command of the whole of the disposable forces of the West and South, or Southwest, to be concentrated at this point, including his own, Genl. Bragg's, and General Buckner's forces, and any others that could be spared over the whole Southwest.

The detachments left behind, should be placed at the most important points in Ala. and Miss., to be held in observation, and to act as nuclei around which the quotas of state troops now being raised, should be concentrated. To such commands should be entrusted the work of checking the enemy and removing stores, &c. and making all the defence, which in the exist'mg condition of things, is allowable for that portion of the confederacy.

The army thus concentrated under Genl. Johnston ought to foot up 80,000 men, exclusive of the troops of Pemberton and Gardner. With such a force at his disposal, I see no reason why Genl. Johnston might not assume the offensive, and attack Rosencranz with the strongest probability of success. I think he could succeed in crushing him, and repossessing Middle Tennessee, then he might move down and take possession of the neck between the Cumberland & Tennessee, and so the mouths of those streams, and of Columbus, & Island No. 10 and Memphis, in short, place us where we have ever desired, and been attempting to be, since this war began. This would wipe out the prestige of the Vicksburg success, and throw us on the line of Grant's communications, open a connection with the Transmississippi forces, and enable us to unite and move down upon Grant with our whole Western strength. Besides this if we were successful we might hope to

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find arms to arm Pemberton, and to employ his force as rapidly as armed. I confess in this campaign, 1 find more that is hopeful and promising tlian in anything that presents itself, and it is in keeping with views 1 have always entertained and urged in regard to the mission of the army of Tennessee. In my judgment it is the important army of the Confederacy, and has a higher mission, and properly strengthened and well handled it will be found to have accomplished more than any other in effecting the great results, after which we are all aiming. So deeply impressed am I with these views I have ventured to present them for the consideration of the President, and now submit them for your consideration, as having been a valued co-worker in this field so long, and through you respectfully to the consideration of your chief.

Something should be done, and that promptly, and after mature reflection I see nothing having the aspect of the feasible about it, but the campaign indicated, and this I believe would be a brilliant success.

We are getting along as usual, the General has gone for some days to Cherokee Springs. We arc throwing up earthworks, refitting, <&c. Your successor has taken command, and promises apparently to work harmoniously. Hindman, who is to follow Withers—^he having been sent to organize new troops in Alabama—^has not arrived. No threatening of the enemy in front as yet. Should hke to hear from you and remain,

Very truly yours,

(signed) L. Polk, Lt. Genl.

Prompted by much the same motives, Hardee before getting this letter had written Polk fully and confidentially. The letter, dated at Morton, Miss., July 27th, frankly said many things which showed Polk that just then, at least, his plan was not likely to be carried out. Among other things Hardee said: "I found General Johnston at this place with an army, according to his own confession much reduced in numbers by desertion

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and much demoralized. My experience has fully confirmed his statement. He has now a little over 18,000 effective infantry. I would not like to say what I thought of the organization, discipline and general efficiency of his command. I fear I will not be able to do as much as you anticipated. I know I wish I were back at Chattanooga with my corps." *

The conditions revealed did not promise well for the western armies, and as Polk had already felt the absence of Hardee, he heartily sjonpathized with his wish to be back with this army.

But too deeply concerned over the general situation to lose sight of it, Polk now expressed himself in confidence in the following letter to Kenneth Rayner. No doubt a certain amount of political agitation which was being sprung upon the army by competing candidates for Congress had informed him upon some of the subjects touched in this letter.

Mr. Rayner, his brother-in-law, was a distinguished member of the Whig party, and one of the leaders of his party in North Carolina.

Chatt., Aug. 15, 1863.

The falling back of this army to this place I think was judicious. It was made necessary by the disparity of forces and the general state of things in other parts of the field at the time. We are now waiting developments. Our position, militarily, is stronger than it has been. The accident of surface produced by the mountain range and the river in our front are greatly in our favour. Rosencranz we hear is preparing to move forward, but he is "cautious, and will risk nothing if he can help it.

As to Johnston he is making up the best army he can out of the debris of the Miss. fray. He is at Enterprise. A court

1 Letter in possession of the author.

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has been called on Pemberton. This may secure the return of the largest part of the Mississippi and other troops furloughed by him. As to Grant he is making sure of his conquest on the Miss, and preparing to advance on Mobile so soon as the weather will allow. Of Kirby Smith we hear very little, certainly though what we hear is favourable. As to Price he is said to have resigned. If so I think it unfortimate. This is about the position of affairs at the west. As to the army in Va. and the condition of things in the Carolinas and Georgia you are no doubt posted.

To my mind nothing is clearer than that we are approaching a crisis in the history of our affairs, and it is to that I desire to call your attention. That we have lost ground in the last few weeks is patent to ail. Some of us think to such an extent as to make it necessary to adopt at once measures which may meet the emergency. As to the army as it stands, while there may be occasional desertions, we have no fear. We think it may be relied on. But it is not strong enough. It must be increased. We have the men and they shaidd he ptd into the ranks. To accomplish this, more vigour is required in the administration. Its action is not decided enough. It does not seem to rise under increasing pressure. Whether it will prove equal to emergencies still more stringent, yet to come, remains to be seen. But the indication which I think most significant is the tendency now manifesting itself in different states among the people to let down. An eye should be placed on this at once, and the strongest measures adopted to put it down. By this morning's despatches I see the troops in the Va. army from N. C. are holding meetings to proclaim against the stand taken by the "Standard newspaper"; it is not said what that is but I hear from Genl. Bragg that his brother Govr. Bragg writes him it has proposed jdelding and returning to the old Union! Can this be so? Then we have an account from Ala. that there is more or less of that sort of feeling manifesting itself in that state. Witness the recent election of Cruckshanks over Curry and other like cases. The former is said to be secretly in favour of reconstruction. The army was not allowed to vote and there-

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fore the result. We hear too that in certain parts of Mississippi there is a feeling of great despondency and a disposition to give way—^to say nothing of the state of things in Georgia. Now all of this is exceedingly significant and calls for immediate attention on the part of those wh4) do not mean to allow our efforts to fail. You will remember our conversation on the subject of this failure when in Raleigh.* And although I do not think it by any means dear that we cannot succeed^ yet; from the present condition of the army as to numbers; the want of activity and energy on the part of the government in bringing out the miUtary forces of the states; the altered state of pubUc feeUng at the north, growing out of Morgan's raid and Lee's invasion—^both very ill advised—^together with the growing evidences of discontent at the conduct of the war by certain hated agents or officials of the executive; and now, more than all these indications of letting down on the part of the people, I am constrained to say that I feel the time has come for a very serious consideration of our situation.

Read in comiection with the preceding letters, one gets in this a true picture of the military and political situation as it was shaping itself throughout the Confederacy, and can realize the necessity for successful action which pressed upon General Bragg's army just then. How far they contributed to the concentration of troops effected at Chattanooga a few weeks later, I do not know, but it is not improbable that the one of July 30th had a good deal to do with it, as a special copy of it was sent direct to Mr. Davis.

* General Polk visited hia sister in Raleigh when he reported at Richmond following the Kentucky campaign.

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CmCKAMAUGA. July to Ootobeb, 1863. ^

G^nerid Rosecrans crosses the Tennessee Riyer.—General Bnmside's advance.— Evacuation of Enozville.— Rosecrans' activity.—Topographical view of the field.— Movements of the armies.—Thomas and Crittenden's escape.—Vacillation and delay.— Confederate position on the Chickamauga.—Beginning of the battle.—Relative strength of the armies; General Polk's headquarters.— Relations of Bragg and TTiii-— Gleneral Polk's instructions.— General Hill's absence and delay.—Accusations against General Polk.— The lines of battle.— The second day's fighting.— Longstreet's advance.— General Hood disabled.—Lucius Polk and Jackson's charge.— The ** rebel yell."—Bragg's inappreciatlon of the victory.—Dissatisfaction of the army.— Suspension of General Polk.—His defense, and action of President Davis thereon.—Transferred to a new command.—Hill's letter to Breckenridge.—General Bragg's letter to Major Sykes.

In the preceding chapter we have seen that the retreat from Tennessee was effected with slight or inconsiderable loss in men and transportation, and that Chattanooga was occupied during the first week of July. General Polk's corps, except Anderson's brigade of Withers's (now Hindman's) division,^ which was placed at Bridgeport, where the Nashville railroad crosses the Tennessee River, for purposes of observation, was retained in and around Chattanooga, and Hill's corps was distributed along the line of the Knoxville railroad, with Tyner's Station as its center, General Bragg establishing the

1 General Hindman replaced Gtoeral Withers in the command of this division, General Withers having been ordered to duty at Montgomery, Alabama.


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army headquarters at Chattanooga. The work of fortifying was begun and prosecuted for some weeks, during which the army seemed to await the development of the enemy's plans. Beyond reconnoissances in some force to Bridgeport and at the mouth of Battle Creek, the enemy made no demonstration until the 21st of August, when he succeeded in covering the town of Chattanooga with his artillery from the heights overlooking the Tennessee River and the town. This bombardment of Chattanooga, which was intended as a demoralizing stroke, had the more pregnant significance of an announcement that the enemy's plans were completed, and were about being put in active operation. It« effect was the official evacuation of the place to points beyond range outside, and the withdrawal of stores to points of convenience on the railroad to the rear, and the retiring of Anderson's brigade from Bridgeport.

On the 26tli of August General Burnside's advance into East Tennessee was announced by tlie presence of his cavalry in the vicinity of KnoxviUe, and General Buckner received orders to evacuate the town and occupy Loudon. In consequence of a demonsti-ation, it was said, by a portion of Rosecrans' army at Blythe's Ferry on the Tennessee River, opposite to the mouth of the Hiawassee, he was ordered to fall back from Loudon to Charleston, and, soon after, to the vicinity of Chattanooga. Pending these movements above, which were to give East Tennessee to the Federals not only for occupation, but for cooperation with Rosecrans in liis designs upon Chattanooga and the Army of Tennessee, Rosecrans was not idle below. On Tuesday morning, September 1, citizens living near Caperton's Ferry reported tliat the enemy was crossing the Tennessee River in force at that point; that on Saturday, the 29th of August, three days

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before, a force of Federal cavalry had forded the river at some shallows above, had proceeded down the river on the south side to Caperton's, and, in conjunction with another force appealing simultaneously on the opposite shore, had thrown a pontoon bridge across the river; that the enemy commenced immediately to cross in force, had been crossing for three days (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday), and were moving across Sand Mountain in the direction of Wills' Valley and Trenton. This story, regarded at anny headquarters as incredible, was soon after confirmed by reports of the occupation of Trenton by the enemy's cavalry, and by its advance up the Wills' Valley railroad in the direction of Chattanooga as far as Wahatcliie (within seven miles), as a covering-force to the advance of its infantry columns on Trenton.

In order to understand this movement of General Rosecrans, and the subsequent operations, a topographical view is necessary.

Chattanooga is situated on the Tennessee River at the mouth of Chattanooga Valley,— a valley following the course of the Chattanooga Creek, and formed by Lookout Mountain and Missionar}'^ Ridge. East of Missionary Ridge, and running parallel with it, is another valley — Chickaraauga Valley — following the course of Chicka-mauga Creek, which, with the Chattanooga Creek, discharges its waters into the Tennessee River; the first above and the latter below the town of Chattanooga, the two having a common source in McLemore's Cove, the common head of both vaUeys, which is bounded by Lookout Mountain on the west, and Pigeon Mountain on the east. Wills' Valley is a narrow valley lying to the west of Chattanooga, between Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain, and is traversed by a railroad, which takes its name from the valley, and which, reaching from the

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NashviUe and ChattaDOOga railroad where the latter crosses the valley, had its terminus at that time at Trenton. The distance of Bridgeport from Chattanooga is twenty-eight miles, of Caperton's Ferry about forty, and








of Trenton something over twenty. Ringgold is eighteen miles from Chattanooga, on the railroad leading to Atlanta, and Dalton about forty, at the pomt where that railroad connects with the East Tennessee railroad. Rome is sixty-five miles southwest of Chattanooga, on the Coosa River, at the point of confluence of the Etowah and Oostenaula. The wagon road from Chattanooga to Rome—known as the Lafayette road—crosses Mission-aiy Ridge into Chickamauga VaUey at Ross\411e, and.

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proceeding in a southwesterly direction, crosses Chicka-mauga Creek eleven miles from Chattanooga, at Lee and Gordon's Mill, and, passing to the east of Pigeon Mountain, goes through Lafayette, distant some twenty-two miles from Chattanooga, and Summerville, within twenty-five miles of Rome. From Caperton's Ferry there is a road leading over Sand Moimtain into Wills' Valley at Trenton, and from Trenton to Lafayette and Dalton, over Lookout Mountain, through Cooper's and Stevens's gaps into McLemore's Coye, and thence over Pigeon Mount.ain through Dug Gap to Lafayette. The road from Trenton, foUowi^rig WiUs' Valley, exposed, by easy communications, Rome, and through it western Georgia and eastern Alabama, with easy access to the important central positions, Atlanta and Sehna.

General Bragg, believing a flanking movement to be the purpose of the enemy in his movements on the left, ordered General Hill, on Monday, September 7, to move with his cori)s to Lafayette, and Genei'al Polk to Lee and Gordon's Mill, and General Buckner, with the Army of East Tennessee, and General Walker, with his division but recently aiTived from the Army of Mississippi, to concentrate at Lafayette, and General Pegram was du'ected to cover tlie Chattanooga and Atlanta railroad with his division of cavalry. These dispositions having been made of the Confederate forces. General Crittenden, commanding the left wing of General Rose-crans' army, which had not moved with the right and center, but had been left in the Sequatchie Valley, crossed the Tennessee River at the mouth of BattJe Creek, and moved upon Chattanooga. General McCook, commanding the right wing, was thrown forward upon the road leading through Wills' Valley, to threaten Rome, and the corps of General Thomas was put in motion over Lookout Moun-

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tain in the direction of Lafayette, by way of Stevens's Gap and McLemore's Cove. The reserve corps, under General Granger, was concentrating about Bridgeport. In view of the situation of the enemy as above given, General Polk, in response to an inquiry from the commanding general, urged the prompt seizure of the opportunity offered of striking Rosecrans in detail, and argued in favor of an attack, first upon Thomas, to be followed by one upon Crittenden, leaving McCook to be dealt with as he should attempt to recross the Tennessee River. General Bragg decided to make the initial effort against the corps of Thomas, whose advance, variously estimated at from 4000 to 8000 men, was known to have reached McLemore's Cove. Hindman's division was accordingly detached from General Polk's corps, in order that General Hindman himself might make the movement under the direct supervision of army headquartei*s. General Polk meanwhile, with his remaining division and Greneral Buckner's corps, was assigned a position some four miles south of Lee and Gordon's Mill, to protect Hindman from interference by Crittenden, who, passing through Chattanooga, was then marching toward Ringgold. Hindman was ordered to move at midnight of September 9, and be ill position as eaily as practicable. General Hill, whose coii)s lay in the direction of Lafayette, was ordered to take Cleburne's division, then guarding the approaches through Dug and Catlets gaps, and, moving through the gaps, to unite with Hindman and take charge of the forces. General Hill, however, reported Cleburne ill, and the roads through the gaps so filled with timber that he could not execute the order. General Buckner, in consequence, was directed, at 8 a.m. of the 10th, to move his corps to Hindman's support and supply General Hill's place, Hindman got into position early on the mom-

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ing of the 10th. Buckner followed without delay, but was unable to reach Hindman until about half-past four o'clock in the afternoon — too late to accomplish the object in view on that day.

While these movements were going on, Negley's division of the opposing forces moved down into McLe-more's Cove and advanced to within a mile of Dug Gap. Baird's division moved up within supporting distance, leaving Reynolds^s and Brannan's divisions still to the west of the mountain.

By daylight of the following day—the 11th—General Hill had made his way through the gap, and was ready to respond to Hindman's attack, but, during the night, Hindman, through the wording of dispatches from aimy headquarters ^ (which had become needlessly apprehensive touching McCook's movements), was made uncertain of General Bragg's intentions and wishes, and did not attack. Negley, realizing the peril of his situation, withdrew with Baird, about 10 a.m., to a secure position at the foot and sides of the mountain. When this movement against Thomas was thus foiled (noon, September 11), the one clearly indicated as the next to be made was that against Crittenden, then near Ringgold. General Bragg already stood between Crittenden and Thomas, and an easy and safe march down Chattanooga Valley would have placed him in a position from which he could readily command Crittenden's line of retreat. Then, with his preponderance of cavalry, it would have been an easy matter to intercept this corps before it could escape across the Tennessee River. But, misled as to McCook's position. General Bragg marched all his force to Lafayette to meet as he supposed the advance of the enemy from Alpine northward. By this movement General