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James Senefeld writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Richmond, Virginia, Feb. 10, 1864

By a complex series of communication links the Shadow has transmitted to us a series of interviews from Gen. Grant’s headquarters in Chattanooga. These span a number of days and include the comments of generals as well as journalists on the scene. These begin with Sylvanus Cadwallader, prominent correspondent who works for  the Chicago Times and the New York Herald news service and Capt. Horace Porter.

Nashville, January 28, 1864

Reflections on General Grant

Mr. Cadwallader:

My connection with Gen. Grant goes back to Oct. 1862 when I was sent by the Chicago Times to cover his campaigns in west Tennessee. The previous reporter, one Mr. Warren P. Isham, brother-in-law of the editor of the Times, had been placed under arrest on orders of Gen. Grant to Gen. Sherman. Gen. Grant wanted him confined to Alton Prison for the duration of the war, and Gen. Sherman was happy to speed along the process. The sinful article detailed how the Confederacy had a fleet of iron-clads at Pensacola. This was based upon some grapevine Isham claimed to have. As he was never one t0 let the facts get in the way of a good story, he was soon out of the game, and I was contacted while minding by own business helping my brother-in-law run the Milwaukee Daily News. I had no knowledge of Gen. Grant, knew not the man, and objected to being sent to a war zone in west Tennessee, but I came to this state and have stayed.

With all types of reference letters, I was to go on to Cairo and from there to Gen. Grant’s headquarters with my credentials as Chief War correspondent for the Chicago Times. My actual mission was to attempt to present the facts to Grant and win Mr. Isham’s release. The paper was known for sensational reporting skirting the line of actual disloyalty, and Isham had committed his third serious offense with the Rebel Navy story. However, the Times had excellent circulation among the troops, and this was not to be endangered. I saw first that I must ingratiate myself and be given free access to the camp first and help poor Isham later.

In a short time, I had my pass to go from camp to camp within the Dept. of the Tennessee. I still had concerns as to Gen. Grant’s possible reaction when he became acquainted with my true motives, the release of poor Isham. I met first with Major John A. Rawlins, the adjutant to Gen. Grant, who was soon bored with my conversation, and passed me on to other members of the staff.

I cannot fault these trained military men for a level of suspicion as some journalists wrote flattering articles for pay, often about the “political” generals and high-ranking officers, whose commissions were the creation of powerful friends. Other reporters would purloin letters or hang around officers’ tents to overhear c0nversations. Many had no intention of submitting their articles for military review; they wanted to feed the unlimited public appetite for news from the front.

I found in the camp a nephew of our former Presbyterian pastor from Ross Co., Ohio, Col. Thomas Lyle Dickey, and we had many mutual acquaintances and stories to share. Through him I was able to meet Gen. Grant and share the true purpose of my presence. I planned to  tell him that Mr. Isham was sufficiently punished for what he had done and that his family was suffering and in need. The Times agreed with the punishment of poor Isham, and felt he had learned his lesson. Col. Dickey was pleased that the Times agreed with the punishment, and agreed to bring up the matter with Gen. Grant. He did so on the next day on our ride to the camp of Gen. John A. Logan. When Grant learned that Isham had been in prison some two-three months, he relented and sent a staff officer the next day to have Isham released from the prison.

From that time in West Tennessee, I saw h0w Grant sized up the opposition. When he heard of a cavalry raid by the Rebels, he would ask, who was in command. If it was Joe Wheeler, he would simply smile, but if it was Nathan Bedford Forrest, he was very concerned.

Forrest’s knowledge of the country and his boldness even to a fault, made the late 1862 and early 1863 campaigns very warm in terms of a southern welcome. He and Gen. Van Dorn created a significant amount of damage wherever they attacked.

Now I want to pass on to what has happened since Gen. Bragg’s defeat on this front. I had by Nov. 24, 1863 written a full account of the Battle of Lookout Mountain. I needed approval before telegraphing my story. If I did not quickly transmit my story, I would have lost my job with the two newspapers. The procedure was this; first to Major William McMichael on Gen. Thomas’s staff for approval, but he as the military censor objected to some of the content, and refused to approve it,  which meant delay; then I hastily turned to Gen. Grant, who without reading the manuscript wrote across it, “Send”.

I knew the only telegraph lines in Chattanooga would be consumed for the next two or three days with military communications, so I had to get to free lines. The morning of the 25th dawned, and it was evident the battle would end that day, and not one in ten reporters had access to telegraphs in the battle zone. I knew the nearest lines likely to be free were in Stevenson, Alabama, some 70 miles away. I could ride there by night and catch the 6 A.M. train for Nashville. I spent ten hours in the saddle as I made it the trip over muddy roads, I arrived with three minutes to spare. The road I had crossed through Chattanooga over the river crossing, then to Nickajack, the mile long bridge at Bridgeport, where the soldier who walked across with me was told of the great victory, which many on the bridge heard, and then my ride paralleled the railroad all night. I met in a the station a courier of Gen. Grant’s, and he took charge of my horse.

On the train I corrected my article, and I knew that I was in advance of all the other correspondents. At Anderson there was a wreck and we lost four hours. Then at Wartrace another wreck and a 16 hour delay. When in sight of Nashville, our engine gave out, and I walked the last 3-4 miles. I then went to the post commander in Nashville, Gen. R. S. Granger, who approved my article and by dark I had all sent by telegram. I was on the sidewalk when I saw Mr. W. F. G. Shanks of the New York Herald hurrying up the street at a half run and almost breathless.

Mr. Shanks had left Chattanooga on the 26th and paid some $100 in greenbacks for a fast ride to Nashville; he saw as the train left a greasy individual mount the tender car and after two hours with the instincts of a reporter, questioned the man to find that he was Mr. Woodward, reporter for the Cincinnati Times, who was now along for a free ride. The train was stopped, and there everything short of physical violence to eject the freeloader, then Woodward in turn threatened both reporter and engineer. The end of the drama was they had just arrived in Nashville and Shanks had just escaped his adversary.

My part in this drama was to delay Woodward until Shanks had gotten his story approved and then sent on the wire. As Woodward leisurely strolled up, I took him into a nearby restaurant and ordered an elaborate supper for two as I selected dishes that would take an inordinate amount of time to prepare, and occasionally ordered an extra dish to extend the wait. We easily consumed more than an hour with our supper.

Woodward then drew out his manuscript to go to the telegraph office, and we began to compare notes, which consumed more time. He finally climbed the steps to the telegraph office only to be told that no dispatches could be sent unless approved by Gen. Granger. I told him that Gen. Granger’s approval was the first thing to secure, and he trudged off only to find the office closed. I then suggested we hire a hack, and we visited all the hotels and most of the public places in search of Gen. Granger until it was 11:00 at night. Between that hour and 12 we found the General at the theatre, but he was so displeased to be disturbed by Mr. Woodward, that he refused to be of any help.

Then I accompanied Woodward to the St. Cloud Hotel, where he registered, paid $5.00 in greenbacks, and asked to be called in the early morning to catch the train for Louisville. A short time later, for an additional five dollars, Shanks bribed the clerk to erase Woodward’s name from the list to be called in the morning, and he was left in Nashville for another day. That day especially in the evening, I spent a good deal of time in the telegraph office handling my correspondence, which was voluminous, at midnight I had every employee treated to a hot dinner. At 2 AM all seemed hopeless as the Louisville operator was swamped. I telegraphed him that I had deposited ten dollars to his account in Nashville if he would work until 4 A. M. and at 3:30 he said all my dispatches had been sent; Shanks’ dispatches followed mine, but we had missed the morning edition. We then went by train to Louisville to send more dispatches but Shanks’ were so delayed that the lost his job. Mine were a success and I have just returned from a Christmas visit to my family in Milwaukee. I am now also safely employed by the New York Herald, and I plan to winter in Nashville. I also have lists of Wisconsin veterans and plan to seek out the wounded in the Nashville hospitals and camps.

Capt. Horace Porter

I first met Gen. Grant on Oct. 23, 1863 in Chattanooga at the headquarters of Gen. George B. Thomas, at that time on Walnut St. near 4th. There had been a raging storm for two days, and there was still chilling rain falling. I was summoned to headquarters near nightfall, and found Gen. Thomas, three members of his staff, and several officers I did not know. In an armchair facing the fireplace was a man of slight figure and medium stature. He had on muddy, wet boots and a wet uniform splattered with mud. His face bore an expression of weariness. He held a lighted cigar in his mouth and had a stooping posture. Gen. Thomas turned to me, mentioned my name, and said, “I want to present you to General Grant.”  He looked up at me from the chair and gave me a firm hand shake and a “How do you do?”

The members of Grant’s staff included Asst. Sect. of War, Charles A. Dana. Gen. Grant and his staff had ridden some two days in the rain, most recently from Bridgeport; he had telegraphed from Louisville that Gen. Thomas was to hold Chattanooga at all costs, to which the response came, “We will hold it till we starve,”  and now here was the man ready to take command. He had fallen several weeks before and also slipped on the road to Chattanooga, and I was told he had to be lifted from his horse, but here he was, showing no signs of fatigue.

He did not change his clothes but concentrated on the “map talk” given by Gens. Thomas and William F. “Baldy” Smith. He sat immovable as they talked and then asked a series of perceptive questions. These showed he had a thorough knowledge of the enemy’s condition. Then he turned to me as Chief of Ordnance of the Army of the Cumberland and asked, “How much ammunition is there on hand?” We had talked from dusk to about 9:30 and then he began to write messages to Gen. Halleck which placed Gen. Sherman in command of the Army of the Tennessee. About an hour later he retired for the evening.

He had  made an appointment for the next day with Gens. Thomas and Smith to make a personal inspection tour of the lines. He stopped a good while to study Brown’s Ferry, and that evening requested an interview with me. He asked me about the position and ammunition to support several large guns we had recently been put into position. He started to dictate messages, and as I rose to leave, he said, “Sit still.”   I observed that he wrote nearly of his messages himself swiftly and uninterruptedly. He tossed the dispatches in a pile, later put them in order, read them over, and then asked me to look at them. He was bringing up Gen. Sherman from Corinth and planning to relieve Gen. Burnside.

He demonstrated from the beginning his singular mental powers. He soon began the night movement of troops and supplies by pontoons that resulted in victory at Chattanooga. He is a man who speaks little, but is a good listener; he is about 5′ 8″ in height and weighs about 135 pounds; he has a full beard which is neatly trimmed. He has a clear, penetrating voice. In conversation he has only two gestures, he strokes his beard with his left hand, and he gestures by raising and lowering his right hand.

Soon I was in almost daily contact with him in my role as part of  Gen. Thomas’ staff. About two weeks later around Nov. 5th Gen. Grant interceded so that I could remain in Chattanooga and not be sent to Washington to assist Gen. Halleck in the reorganization of the Ordnance Bureau. He wrote to ask that I be assigned to his staff and be given the rank of brigadier-general.  I am soon to go to Washington to present that letter and await the results.

Sources:

Cadwallader, Sylvanus. Three Years With Grant.

Porter, Horace. Campaigning with Grant.

James Senefeld writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Richmond, Virginia, January 6, 1864

We are continuing our conversation with Edward Arthur Pollard on the personalities of leadership in this war as who is rising and who is falling from power. The complete collapse of General Bragg’s career as field commander is assured. The seven months he spent camped one county away from Gen. Rosecrans in Tennessee followed by the forty days watching his army grow in Chattanooga were more than even President Davis could excuse. A couple of dispatches from Gen. Braxton A. Bragg will serve as conclusive proof.

The first is dated Sept. 22nd, 1863 and concerns the battle of Chickamauga.

“It has pleased Almighty God to reward the valor and endurance of our troops by giving our arms a complete victory over the enemy’s superior numbers. Thanks are due and rendered unto Him who giveth not the battle to the strong. Soldiers! after days of severe battle, preceded by heavy and important outpost affairs, you have stormed the barricades and breastworks of the enemy and driven him before you in confusion, and destroyed an army largely superior in numbers, and whose constant theme was your demoralization and whose constant boast was your defeat. … Much has been accomplished–more remains to be done, before we enjoy the blessings of peace and freedom.”

The next is dated Nov. 25th, 1863 from Chickamauga, Georgia, several miles from the battlefield in Chattanooga.

“After several unsuccessful assaults on our lines to-day, the enemy carried the left center about four o’clock. The whole left soon gave way in considerable disorder. The right maintained its ground, repelling every assault. I am withdrawing all to this point.”

What finished Gen. Bragg was someone named U. S. Grant; this is how E. A. characterizes Gen. Bragg.

He was famous for his profuse censure of  his officers, and the ascription of every failure in his campaigns to some to the fault of some subordinate officer.  He never wrote an official report without some unpleasant and suspicious element of recrimination in it.  After the battle at Murfreesboro, he blamed Gen. Breckenridge for getting in Gen. Hardee’s way, then he made them his corps commanders in the decisive battle in Chattanooga. Yet he eloquently praised his common soldiers.

Grant appeared to have fallen as far as he could, when the war started he was delivering wood, and then Col. John A. Logan was delivering recruiting speeches across Illinois, and Grant after a decade of deadly dull work found his way back into the army. In my opinion, the man who rescued Grant from his failures at Shiloh and Perryville was Gen. Don Carlos Buell, who now languishes in obscurity, probably in Cincinnati, another victim of political intrigue. It was Buell, not Grant, who knew the science of strategic moves. His moderation showed he possesses the principles of humanity, to conciliate the good will of the South. Grant plans a war of extermination; he possesses the coarse, high obstinacy of the frontiersman with an army always on the move.

I cannot let the opportunity pass in reflecting on the year without mentioning Gen. Thomas J. Jackson. He was a man of ambition, not in the sense of seeking public favor, but he was a machine of conscientious motives. He was first perceived at VMI as stupid and rather harmless, At First Manassas, the press characterized him as odd from the way he turned his head to his interpolating “Sir” so often in his conversation. While some in Richmond wanted to discharge him, it was the Valley campaign that made him famous, followed by the Seven Days and Second Manassas and then the Wilderness. He was a humble, consistent Christian, and circuit-riders would flock to his tent, more than to any other.  He had almost superhuman endurance in the field, and was never concerned with heat or cold.

Danger, in a certain sense, intoxicated him; it stimulated his brain and concentrated his mental faculties. His rapid movements with his troops seemed at first out of keeping with his figurehead posture at church or his rambling soliloquies at the back of a tent. He became in wartime a man of intense activity. He did stand dramatically, or affect long hair, or puff out his chest; his death presaged the disasters of summer and fall.

It is now evident that Gen. Joseph E. Johnston will be the man for the defense of Georgia; he has a wider intelligence than any other Confederate officer; he has been successful only when given a free range of action by Davis and Lee. During this past October Gen. Longstreet begged for him to be brought to command Bragg’s army or be allowed to join Gen. Johnston, and of course failed to gain a sympathetic hearing from Davis or Bragg. In contrast, Gen. Lee has achieved little of note since Chancellorsville, and allowed Gen. Meade’s army to escape him in Virginia so that the two armies are in winter camp in Culpeper and Orange Court House, respectively.

The failures at Gettysburg and Sharpsburg must be laid to Gen. Lee, but the overall failures are President Davis’. His is a court made up old associates, aristocratic social contacts, and his wife’s favorites. Petticoat government and the uncontrolled egotism of our President have led him to believe that he is the master strategist. No one will contradict him, not even Gen Gen. Lee. The divided commands of these semi-autonomous generals have depleted everything we need for success. Gen. Bragg is now slated to become his primary military advisor. Heaven help our nation is all I can say!

 

James Senefeld writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Richmond, Virginia, January 4, 1864

We are having a conversation today with noted journalist and editor, Edward Alfred Pollard, of the Richmond Daily Examiner concerning Gen. P. G. T Beauregard. The esteemed General has been systematically ignored by our President and cabinet both in his successful defense of Charleston and advice on the conduct of the war. As evidence it should be noted that the President never mentioned the General  in his speech recounting his southern tour. We have in keeping  with the flamboyant style of General B. selected this rather grand headline to discuss the issues he has raised and their significance given the failures of our military leadership in Tennessee and Pennsylvania this past year.

General Beauregard was exiled to a new command Charleston, SC after an emotional and physical breakdown more than a year ago. He currently heads the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The year-long drama at Charleston began with rumors circulated in the War Department in Richmond around Christmas Eve 1862 that there would be an attack on Charleston by Federal gunboats before the New Year. From this point on Gen. B. and his forces remained on high alert.

An attempt made on Apr. 7, 1863 by Yankee gunboats to enter Charleston Harbor was fouled by ropes stretched across the water which entangled themselves in the propellers of the warships. This fact was later acknowledged by Sect. Seward in State Department Circular No. 39. Any attempts to expand this system or build torpedo rams were ignored by our Navy Department, who seemed to believe Federal ironclads were part of the natural scenery outside Charleston Harbor.

While he awaited the next move by the Federals, his thoughts turned to Tennessee and the lull there in the contest between Gens. Bragg and Rosecrans. The interest here for ourselves and our readers is was Gen. B’s  good advice on military strategy  ignored because he was the source? Further would his advice have changed the course of the war? We begin with his letter to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston then in Jackson, Miss., dated May 15th, 1863.

He proposed first that the way to free the state of Mississippi and the Mississippi Valley would be for Gen. Johnston to immediately wage aggressive war in Tennessee. Given the force now there, an additional 25,000-30,000 men would be sufficient to attack Rosecrans suddenly and drive him beyond the Ohio River. There should be loyal men from Tennessee and Kentucky to join this force, easily 10,000 in Tennessee and 20,000 in Kentucky. These along with some 20,000 reinforcements from Virginia could hold Tennessee and Kentucky.

Second, a force of 60-70,000 men should cross the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to Columbus or Ft. Pillow and take control of the river so as to cut off Gen. Grant’s communication to the north. Then Grant if he had delayed his retreat would have to fight a victorious army the size of his own, on a battle-field of their selection. This could be done when the rivers are at a low stage which will restrict navigation and his re-supply by water.

From there forces could be sent into Louisiana or from Kentucky into Virginia. Given what happened at Chancellorsville, many of the dispirited Federals, their enlistment periods over, are about to be replaced by raw recruits.

Third, if torpedo rams were manufactured in England, they could be used to free New Orleans from the occupying forces of Gen. Banks.

At issue here for us now in 1864 is were there sufficient men and supplies fro Gen. B’s plan, and why was the risk taken of going into Pennsylvania? If Richmond was indeed safe after Chancellorsville shouldn’t Gen. Longstreet have been immediately been sent to Tennessee? We now know that Gen. Longstreet advocated this as opposed to going into Pennsylvania and was ignored.

By mid-June there were requests from the War Dept. to send more of Gen. B’s troops to North Carolina and Virginia. He was also told in addition that if large Federal forces should be sent to Mobile, he should take forces there to defend the city. Gen. B. demanded a direct order before sending forces out of his district as well as to whether he would be under the command of Gen. Johnston if he were in Mobile? He received no reply to his letter and was not sent to Mobile.

By July 4th, it was evident that Charleston would become the focus of the Federal forces. However, burning towns and plantations was also part of the Federals’ activities. Gen. B. wrote Federal Gen. R. A. Gillmore at that time at Port Royal, SC, of his concern over the past several weeks with the burning of plantations and the seizure of slaves as evidence of the  wanton destruction of civilian property, in no way being a military necessity, but simply to terrorize unarmed civilians. A day or two later two-thirds of the village of Bluffton was burned, a summer resort for planters, and undefended and indefensible place. Then came June 11th Darien, Georgia, with every building laid waste except a church and three small houses.  As far back as March 1863 retreating Federal troops burned most of Jacksonville, Florida.

Gen. Beauregard then drew the line on wartime property and the issue of eminent domain. Here are the standard guidelines for civilized nations in war time that he addressed to Gen. Gillmore.

1. In a civil war, forces should abide by the common rules of war. You may seize and hold towns or districts as a type of eminent domain in war time. Properties  of the government are legitimate items of conquest. You may also appropriate the spoils of the battlefield. Private property or land can only be taken in special cases.

2. Private property such as houses moveable or immoveable are not to be seized or damaged as there is no cause for the destruction of civilian property. You cannot do such things except in  only the case of stern necessity where the enemy had destroyed such property.

3. You may waste and destroy provisions and forage that you cannot carry away, if left would materially assist the enemy. The pillage of open country and of undefended places was long ago abandoned as a type of  warfare as was the barbarian destruction of vines and fruit trees.

4. You may levy a “contribution” on people, but this should be moderate if the general wishes for an “unsullied” reputation.

5. The lessons of history show that actions such as those by Major-General Hunter, who preceded Gen. Gillmore, of using a servile class of people in combat are inappropriate. Gen. Hunter employed in his army negroes and fugitive slaves taken from plantations. If Napoleon would not use Russian serfs, then Federal forces should not use these people.

6. The issue is whether these cases of arson such as Darien and Bluffton were authorized by Gen. Hunter and will be continued by Gen. Gillmore as “legitimate” means of warfare for which the Federals will have to account later.

The implication made here by Gen. B is that the “servile class” was used extensively for arson, and that he refuses to view them as having the rights of legitimate soldiers. This became an immediate issue in August because by the middle of the month Ft. Sumter came under a stupendous artillery barrage to the extent of 100 and 200 pound shot.

On Aug. 16th and 17th the defenders of Ft. Sumter counted some 948 shot, 445 struck outside, 223 inside and 270 passed over. On the 20th 879 projectiles were fired. On Aug. 21st 923 shots; the totals for the week of Aug. 16-23 were 27oo struck outside, 1724 struck inside, 1236 missed. There were eight casualties, three of whom dangerously wounded, one requiring amputation, the other two were dangerously wounded slaves.

On Aug. 21st Gen. Gillmore sent a note demanding the evacuation of Morris Island and of Ft. Sumter; if no reply came within four hours, then, “I shall open fire on the City of Charleston from batteries already established within easy and effective range of the heart of the city.” At 9 PM on Aug. 22  Gen. G. sent a response to Gen. B’s note as to the firing of a number of heavily-rifled shells early that day into the sleeping city of Charleston.

The day before Gen. Gillmore had delivered at Fort Wagner at 10:15 Am a note that threatened to fire on the city and Morris Island if surrender did not take place on that day, response demanded within four hours. Gen. B was absent from headquarters at the time, which Gen. G. said was unfortunate. He said as a principle of war that a city under attack, but not yet invested with escape routes available should not expect a warning of bombardment since the city had been in obvious danger for forty days, and blockaded for two and half years but a note had been sent. The ultimate purpose of the attack should not have been in doubt as the city had been constantly fortifying itself.  The responsibility rests with the non-combatants to secure safety. However, since Gen. B’s note said the city was full of women and children and since Gen. G. believed they had already been evacuated he would suspend bombardment until 11 PM the 23rd. The bombardment continued for days.

The final surrender of Morris Island came on Sept. 7th. Weeks before that time prisoner exchange had been going on. We will remind our readers of Gen. B’s attitude toward “servile troops”. This will account for Gen. G’s letter of complaint dated Aug. 5th from Morris Island. Gen. Gillmore wrote that he expected full compliance of the usage of war as indicated in earlier letters from Gen. Beauregard; in this case the exchange of wounded prisoners.

Gen. G. continued, “… after having entered into a solemn agreement with me for mutually paroling and returning to their respective commanders the wounded prisoners in our hands, you declined to return the wounded officers and men belonging to my colored regiments, and your subordinate in charge of the exchange asserted that the question had been left for after-consideration. I can but regard this transaction as a palpable breach of faith on your part, and flagrant violation of your pledges as an officer.”

Gen. B. did not receive the letter until Aug. 8th and responded on Aug. 18th. The gist of his argument is that both a presidential order and an act of the Confederate Congress, “… expressly excluded armed negroes from recognition by the Confederate States officers as legitimate means of war.” Further, Gen. B refused to acknowledge any flags of truce where negro officers or soldiers were involved. This is why he did not acknowledge a flag of truce at Ft. Wagner on July 18th and why the negro wing of the storming column did not receive medical assistance under a flag of truce.

According to Gen. Hapgood, an eyewitness, no one on the Federal side including Gen. Vogdes or three of four of his officers asked about the fate of Col. Shaw who was with this storming column.  The Confederate proclamation outlawing negro troops and their white officers was well-known on both sides. Although there were many more Federal prisoners than Confederate, there were no medical facilities to house them, and all but the negro troops were exchanged. There were also prisoners who were not returned due to their allegedly taking an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

With the battle for Charleston effectively over, on Oct. 7th Gen. Beauregard wrote Gen. Bragg a letter of advice in which he made the following points.

1. If the Army of Virginia is about to take the offensive to block Gen, Meade from reinforcing Gen. Rosecrans, it should be remembered that the summer campaign did not save Middle Tennessee and the Mississippi Valley. Gen. Lee cannot stop the reinforcements of 40-50,000 men that will be in Chattanooga within one month. Gen. Rosecrans now has an effective force of 60,000 and in a month his will have a minimum of 110,000 men.

2. War being a contest of masses versus fractions, with all things being equal, you will be defeated, and, therefore, you must be reinforced from Johnston’s or Lee’s army or Middle Georgia will be lost and the Confederacy will be cut in two and then into threes. Gen. Meade will receive new levies of troops this fall, and Gen. Lee will be pushed back to Richmond, if his supplies do not fail him where he is on the south side of the Potomac. If Charleston proves too difficult, Wilmington may be attacked, and North Carolina taken by the enemy and the Confederacy divided from that direction.

3. If my opinion for once would be listened to, there should be a defensive war in Virginia, and you should receive 25,000 forces from Lee’s army and 5-10,000 from Johnston’s and then immediately cross the Tennessee river to crush Rosecrans before he can be reinforced.

4. In the mean time, Lee should fall back to Richmond.

5. If Gen. Bragg agrees, he is free to submit this plan as his own to the War Department. I care not who gets credit for it. Our resources are fast being exhausted.

Needless to say, there was no response to this plan, and Gen. Bragg with Pres. Davis’ blessing, dispatched in early November over 20,000 troops in a fruitless attempt to drive the Federals from Knoxville. On Nov. 2nd, about 1 PM Pres. Davis arrived in Charleston and after a reception in the City Hall gave an eloquent address to a city that had been besieged for seven months. Later, the governor invited some leading citizens to attend dinner at his house, with Pres. Davis, General Beauregard did not attend. He did conduct the President on a tour of James and Sullivan’s Island and escorted him to the train station for his departure.

In early December Gen. B. continued to emphasize that Atlanta was the real goal of the Federal army in Chattanooga, and that Atlanta must be saved at all costs. This certainly will be the focus of the Federal’s spring campaign in the West.

Sources:

Pollard, E. A. The Lost Cause.

Roman, Alfred. The Military Operations of General Beauregard. Vol. II.

James Senefeld writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Richmond, Virginia, January 1, 1864

A group of us assembled last night at the rooms of Colonel and Mrs. James Chesnut, including Mrs. Sallie Putnam, John B. Jones, Clerk in the War Department, Thomas Cooper De Leon, and ourself among others. After an informal dinner to ring in the New Year, we reflected on the major events of 1863. These are the shared personal reflections, which were written down for posterity, on the changes brought about by the third year of the war. I was not a contributor at this forum beyond being a well-contented listener, as the newspapers already abound with my reflections with more to come in the New Year. Now to begin.

First: Mrs. Sallie Putnam,

I am most dismayed by the poverty in Richmond, and the constant demand for women to provide war supplies. We now live as did our frontier grandparents in a constant struggle to find enough food, with any leisure time spent in home industries. Food is scarce, fuel is scarce, and the cost of articles of clothing that have come through the blockade is beyond the reach of most people.

There are houses, many of them mansions, where three years ago I heard the music of  Spanish guitars and light-hearted conversation at garden parties. Now these homes have only the sounds of women endlessly spinning and knitting to make socks, gloves, and all types of clothing from wool, cotton, linen, and whatever material comes to hand. These activities are coupled with braiding straw for bonnets and hats. We know our soldiers are short of clothing and blankets, let alone bandages and food, and we are straining to met their needs.

In terms of shelter for the residents of this city, boarding houses and hotels can no longer afford to provide food, so many who once had comfortable, spacious apartments now live in single rooms.  Simple dinners are cooked in sauce pans on a grate, and consist of potatoes and a very small quantity of meat and bread. Invitations to breakfast or luncheons used to be common, and I relished a visit to any home where there was pure coffee and something sweet. Now, I need no longer complain of having consumed too much food and drink with the need for medication to calm the accompanying pains of dyspepsia. Weddings now feature unfrosted cakes and local wine, if any at all.

Refugees now send servants to our doors to sell handsome clothing, patterns with cut out, but unsewn, clothing from before the war, items of silver, or sets of jewelry with an anonymous note attesting to the poverty of some woman who needs money for clothing. Jewelry stores now have expensive pearls, watches, plate, and bookstores now have valuable sets of books constituting whole libraries all from impoverished people who formerly were at the highest levels of society.

Gambling still goes on; not long ago the pursuit of an escaped prisoner, a Federal Col. Streight from Libby Prison, led to a gambling house, and during the raid a number of our prominent citizens fled to the roof for the rest of the evening.

We had a beautiful Indian summer this fall, but we are still heavy-hearted with the numbers of people missing from our home circles with gaps around the fireplaces, and the red flag of the auctioneer has been visible on many streets. There has been seen more frequently an avaricious side to many of our citizens. Then came evidence of an underground movement to lure away our Negro servants. There were also many cases of increased amounts of thefts by domestic servants. More frequently, a storeroom or pantry, or a wardrobe closet will be emptied followed by the mysterious disappearance of a servant. We know many of these persons have surfaced in the most depraved areas of our city, so we are certain the items have been sold for cash to finance vices of every description.

A lady on Franklin Street recently went to an early worship service and returned home at 8 AM to find many of her personal possessions missing as well as two confidential servants she had reared and trained. The missing items were worth thousands of dollars and included clothing and bedclothes, about sixty dollars in gold, about that amount in silver, and several empty trunks were now missing, part of a clever plan to remove the items. Many of the treasures are irreplaceable. The two maids had shown a serious” interest” in religion and had been allowed to go to frequent services, or so they claimed, with those of their own race. These were their subterfuges and those of their guilty co-agitators to cover their planned thefts. Incidents of this kind have become a common occurrence. Now we must consider locking and barring up anything we have of value as we have to fear the worst from our servants.

In another case a woman who had accepted a dinner invitation returned home to find that a body servant had stolen thousands of dollars in money, jewelry and clothing. The maid had not had time to escape with all of her plunder, and the lady was compelled to turn her over to the forces of the law. One last example, a woman who husband is a member of Congress from Tennessee moved with him here, and recently her body servant robbed her of $30,000 in articles of her wardrobe and diamonds. Detectives were employed, but no trace has been found of the servant, and it would appear that it is easy to elude the police and dodge the pickets on the outworks of the city. Once a pontoon bridge is found or a boat at the waterfront it is an easy manner to escape across the peninsula, which is occupied by our enemies, and pursuit is futile.

I will leave to someone else the telling of the sad story of the fall military disasters in Tennessee. I have seen too many of the walking wounded missing an arm or a leg or their vision to find any sense of elation over what has been happening.

Mr. Thomas Cooper De Leon:

The anguish that spread over the dual losses on July 4th of Vicksburg and Gettysburg was like a dark cloud. The enemy now had the Mississippi, and the second Maryland campaign had failed, now the heartland of the upper South was to be protected by Gen. Bragg. The popular conception here was first wild elation that Gen. Lee had gone so far north, then came a shadow of doubt as people besieged the War Department for news. The dark cloud from Gettysburg rolled over Richmond. The rumors of the carnage grew that 20,000 men were lost along with all of Gen. Pickett’s forces. It took only the next day to dash the cup of hope that people tried to hold to their lips as news came of the fall of Vicksburg.

Then with the thick darkness and the groans of pain came the inquiry, why had the Pennsylvania campaign failed? Why was Gen. Lee forced onto ground of the enemy’s choosing? Why did he attack the works and not flank the enemy? Why had the government in the most important campaign of the war not provided adequate transportation and ammunition? Why had the beloved Gen. Lee been forced to fight the entire Yankee army with only one division. Gettysburg was seen as a grave error. The excuses of the War Department of a shortage of ammunition shifted blame in that direction for a time.

[My apologies to John Jones and his fellow workers as I intended no offense.]

[John B. Jones, "None taken."]

Then there was the sense that Gen. Lee’s courtly treatment of the Pennsylvanians, especially the Dutch dames, was misplaced given the brutality of Yankee soldiers in this conflict. There was also initial anger toward southern sympathizers in Maryland who did not come forward to help despite their being under martial law. The facts became known that our troops passed through a part of Maryland filled with Union sympathizers. Nothing worked in our favor, but the heroic image remains of Gen. Lee taking on 120,000 of the best-equipped troops in the war with  half that number, and fighting them to a standstill.

The other issue is the collapse of our currency. This has led to additional suffering, and I feel if the government had bought all the cotton in the fall of 1861, as many urged, and paid for it in Confederate bonds at 6%, there would have been one thousand million dollars in gold to back the currency. To those who say this is exaggerated, I respond, what if it brought half that amount; we would have had a stable currency, and the speculators would have been thwarted. Now the money rate is falling, and we enter a grim third winter of the war. The soldier sending home his pittance of $11.00 a month cannot be sure it will buy his family a pound of bacon.

Mr. John B. Jones,

I wish I could say that peace was near at hand, but I am consoled by the fact that our suffering over the past three years is in no worse than that of our ancestors during the Revolution, and their goal was the same as everyone around this table would agree, which is for our nation to be free. Gen. Bragg could have been that instrument, instead he created a war in his own mind. He imagined that with more troops he could clear Gen. Burnside from east Tennessee, but he claimed Gen. Buckner was too independent, then he claimed by early Nov. that he immediately would clear the enemy on his left if he only had Gen. Hardee’s brigades; it was too wet to do anything on his right. He also wanted control over Gen. Sam Jones in Abington, Va. but the President responded that Gen. Jones was responsible only to Richmond. Then he asked for Gen. Forrest who had been in Mobile and had tendered his resignation rather than deal with Gen. Bragg. Gen. Forrest has been in northern Mississippi and west Tennessee. Only the President sustained Gen. Bragg in his decisions; the aforementioned generals would not.

Pres. Davis after some five days in October near Chattanooga visited Savannah and Charleston leaving before the siege resumed. He has made only brief mention in his recent speech of Gen. Beauregard, which does not bode well for the future. Some believe the President travels out of desperation, some to renew friendships as with Gen. Bragg, some to mend fences as Gen. Wise and Beauregard do not agree. The results have turned out to be negligible; the President still trusts in his instincts as to the best commanders. To worsen the situation, Gen. Howell Cobb sent a letter to the President after Mr. Davis visited Gen.. Bragg and said that all was now harmonious at Bragg’s headquarters, which we now know meant either falsehood or a total lack of intelligence on the former Senator’s part. Perhaps he is angling for higher office.  One possible result of the tour is that he could become Dictator, that is the only path to end the prevalent discord and corruption. I wrote a letter to the President’s aid, Custis Lee, proposing this on Nov. 11th. The President should assume all power for a short period and squash the speculators. This was also discussed in Congress this past week.

The prices of goods here are impossible to conceive for those outside the war zones. Early in November an acquaintance in  Winchester was selling us 7/8th cotton material at cost of $1.00 per yard, normal price $3.00/yard. My wife bought 20 yards at the normal price he gives to refugees. I  bought the same day 24 lbs. of bacon @ a $1.00/lb., retail cost $2.50. A case of Alsop’s Ale in quarts is $180.00. [I did not buy any such item.] We shall soon be one of the soberest cities in the hemisphere. My son Custis and I each receive an annual salary of $3000 a year, the current exchange rate for gold against a Confederate dollar is 28:1. My salary might be $200.00 annually in gold; the reason I am sure of the exchange rate is because on December 7th a $5.00 gold piece sold at auction for $140.00

The government spending even in our inflated currency contains such incompetence and corruption that it is beyond belief. Commissary-General Northrup, another crony of our President, presented a bill for $210 million of which $50,000,000 is exclusively for sugar f0r hospitals, which will go into the Commissary Dept. pockets, or I miss my guess. Sugar is no longer a part of the soldiers’ rations, they receive none, and he reckons 400,000 men are in the hospitals. That is, of course, $2000. per man. Most sugar in the Confederacy has been impounded by the government. State officials will not stand for this impressment given the low amount of compensation from Col. Northrup.

On Nov. 3rd flour at auction was $100. a barrel, on Nov. 4th, it was $120.  By mid-November the wholesale rate on eggs was $2.25, sweet potatoes $10.50-$12.00 per hogshead, $2.50 per peck, whiskey $55-$70/gallon, French brandy, $80-$100, fine bright tobacco $2.00-$4.00 pound, butter $2.00- $2.50/lb., meal $5.00/bushel, retail $20.00. A suit of clothes is $700.00. Capt. Warner sold us bacon from his own smoke-house at 1/3 of the market rate and gave us a bushel of sweet potatoes, had it not been for him, my salary would not have provided enough for us to eat. Luckily, I received $650.00 around Christmas from the sales of my book, Wild Western Scenes–new series. For this I am extremely thankful.

Rumors also spread in November in the Northern press that Richmond would soon fall in a mysterious manner. There have been underground spy rings here before, but local officials then began to worry because there are 13,000 Yankee prisoners in our area, many in deplorable shape at Belle Isle, Libby Prison, and elsewhere. At least that gave us something new to worry about. Capt. Warner, responsible for feeding these prisoners, has been requisitioning meat from Col. Northrup and receiving none. The Capt. is so fearful of a prisoner uprising that he is  ready to send his family out of the city. Pres. Lincoln is ready to declare an amnesty to end this war. If at the point the Federal Congress agreed to such an amnesty with no confiscation of property, this Confederacy would tear itself to pieces. Lincoln proposed this offer two weeks ago, so we will simply have to wait and see.

On Nov. 27th, we received a dispatch from Gen. Bragg that he was at Ringgold, Ga. and prepared to turn and fight. That was 30 miles from where he had been the day before! He must have retreated rapidly.

Today I attended a reception at the President’s house. I put on the best clothing I had, but we look to be a poor people, we are shabby and under-dressed; there are necessities in abundance of food and clothing, but the corrupt agencies have the control of our daily life, that is why we need a dictator.  Mr. Foote proposed this two days ago; we must simply wait out the drama, for Act IV is beginning, the crisis.

NB: Thank you all; our finale will be Mrs. Mary Chesnut  presenting her New Year’s letter, which she shared with the group on this festive evening.

Mrs. Mary Chesnut:

I am pleased that all of you could be here this evening. This has been a momentous year, and I will describe some brief, but memorable, events of the year, both happy and sad.

When it comes to sad events, one only need visit in people’s homes to see brave soldiers missing a limb or their eyesight. One of the bravest has to be our friend Gen. John Bell Hood. I heard a joke recently from an uncouth member of Congress from Texas, and I took him to task for saying only good men would stand on their two legs which he had told in the presence of John Hood. He said the general laughed at it, what else could he do? I also know John told me that he was invited to a holiday reception up two flights of stairs. I think of Lord Nelson who said he was giving his life for his country, part by part, and eye, an arm and finally his life. I can only hope and pray that John’s life is preserved.

The happiest time this fall came just before J. C. was ordered in late November to visit Gen. Bragg’s army, and we came here to Richmond and the Prestons rented rooms for us. This happiness was due to Johnny our nephew and J.C. both being at home in early November, Johnny is now 21 and detailed to a join his company soon. J. C. spent time with his own father going on walks; the old gentleman is 88 having been born in 1775. J. C. loves reading,  often times stretched in front of the fireplace, this time reading Vanity Fair and Pendennis. We kept Henry Esmond for the last. Johnny doesn’t read very much; he asked me if he would enjoy any of these novels. I know that if he is asking, he is not serious. This time was a welcome respite from the war.

Johnny is a good correspondent; his favorite subject is descriptions of the young women in Richmond. Of one he wrote, “Her dress was none too high in the neck, and by no means tight-fitting around her lovely high born F. F. bosom.” The woman then dropped a hot oyster, and as the young men scrambled for it, she discretely pulled her shawl over her ample bosom. Johnny, who was frail as a child, has been made hale and hearty by camp life. He rides a horse like an Arab, and thoughtfully strokes his long blonde mustache. He loves sending a horse to some young woman and then going riding with her. I don’t think he knows what this war is about, and I don’t think he cares.

I was daft with delight to leave home on Nov. 11th to come here. Our last act before leaving Camden was to have a party at my old mother’s old home. After dinner Uncle John came up to me and asked why he had not been asked to say grace; he said there had never been a meal in the home where grace was not said. I told him it was a stand-up picnic, and whoever says grace at a picnic? He was not mollified.

I brought along eight huge boxes of provisions in coming to Richmond. On our trip here Mrs. Harriet Barnwell came with me part of the way; she has a magnificent son who is aged two. At first he was repeating nursery rhymes and singing. Then he became what I would call a holy terror. He was a little fiend, who scratched and kicked, and his mother with tears in his eyes begged him to stop. We stopped at Kingsville, and Mrs. Barnwell’s nurse told me to watch him as she helped Mrs. Barnwell with packages from the train.

I trembled in my shoes. This child! What would I do if he chose to be bad again; no man had ever frightened me as much as he did. He had a perfect disdain for me, and I was his prisoner for the nonce; what could I do with him? He then stretched out at full length, and said, “These are nice legs,” as he looked solemnly at his own. Then as he looked at some of the family’s packages on the train platform, and he yelled, “Kitty’s tied up in one of those packages!” He then began to pull off the wrapping from a package, and it was full of baked sweet potatoes. He took one, broke it in half, and happily ate it. He was good from then to the time his mother and nurse collected him and everything and boarded another train. I almost missed my own train to Wilmington; they went on to Columbia. I made my way safely here although soldiers on the train ate my fried chicken dinner from home, they left me the basket, which can be filled again. Most everything can be replaced, except life and happiness. I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Sources:

De Leon, Thomas Cooper. Four Years in Rebel Capitals.

Jones, John B. A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary. Vol. II.

Putnam, Sallie B. Richmond During the War.

Woodward, C. Vann. Mary Chesnut’s Civil War.

James Senefeld writing as Nevill Blacklidge, Richmond, Virginia, December 17, 1863

We have now assembled two narratives on Gen. Bragg’s monumental defeat at Chattanooga which for a time brings to a close the two year contest for control of Tennessee and access to the Southeast. There is every indication that the war will now move into north Georgia and then come east from there. We have just returned from the front, and we will present a summary of what happened from our point of view, and then defer to a reporter who had a much better vantage point to review the battle.

First, we would like to present a chronology of events since the victory at Chickamauga. To keep Chattanooga more secure, Gen. Wheeler in early October immediately went north and burned an important railroad bridge in Murfreesboro to block Yankee rail access to Chattanooga. Then he went east in November to aid in the siege of Knoxville. Gen. Rosecrans by orders dated Oct. 17th was relieved of command in Chattanooga and replaced by Gen. George H. Thomas, probably the most prominent Virginian in the Federal army. Gen. Grant was appointed to command all armies in the West, Gen. Sherman the Army of Tennessee, and Gen. Burnside the Army of Ohio. That same day Old Abe called for 300,000 more volunteers. A few days later Gen. Hooker with two corps from the Army of the Potomac was sent on his way here, with Gen. Burnside remaining in Knoxville.

A week later on Oct. 23rd, Gen. Polk was relieved of command by Pres. Davis and sent to do something of no importance in Mississippi, labeled as “organizational work”; this  labor had been previously performed by Gen. Hardee, the famous textbook general, who has returned to a major command here. We refer to this as organizational exile, which is usually reserved for officers possessing the skills and bad judgment of Gen. Beauregard.

By the last week of October, our army scouts reported that Gen. Grant had developed a supply line from Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River into Chattanooga, which increased his chances for success in his new command as he eliminated the wagon roads with their bottomless mud. Gen. Bragg’s encirclement of the city was now broken, and supplies were flowing freely to the Federals.

On Nov. 4 Gen. Bragg decided to send Gen. Longstreet to Knoxville to drive out Gen. Burnside. On Nov. 15th Gen. Sherman arrived in Chattanooga which ended the grand plan of Gen. Longstreet to whip Burnside and then return to stop Sherman. Scouts reported to us that Sherman brought with him four divisions. Most of us on the scene believed that up to 100,000 Federals would be in Chattanooga by New Year’s.

By Sat. Nov. 21st, the battle of Chattanooga began. The plans were for Gen. Sherman’s forces were to cross at Brown’s Ferry, march to the right flank of our army, and then recross the Tennessee River to strike at the north end of Missionary Ridge. Gen. Thomas was to strike at the center of Missionary Ridge. Gen. Hooker was then to move from Lookout Valley to Chattanooga Valley and strike on the left. Rain intervened at this point to slow the activity.

The battle for Lookout Mountain came on Nov. 24th. There was heavy fighting at the level area around the Craven farm, but there were few of our troops to defend the top of the mountain, now enshrouded in fog. The mountain was taken on this day by the Federals, and the fighting shifted to Missionary Ridge. The Yankee newspapers have heralded this as “The Battle Above the Clouds” although we couldn’t see much of anything ourselves for the fog.

On the 25th Gen. Sherman attacked Tunnel Hill and the north end of the Ridge; he met strong opposition from our troops led by Gen. Patrick Cleburne. Gen. Thomas was to move in the center, and Gen. Hooker to cut off any retreat toward Georgia. The fighting lasted all day until midnight. Hooker and Sherman met with limited success. Gen. Thomas was able to overwhelm our forces at the lower end of Missionary Ridge and then the Federals charged forward. Our men on top of the ridge could not fire down on the Federals for fear of hitting our retreating troops. The ridge was now no longer defensible, and Gen. Bragg saved our army but retreated to Chickamauga Station and made a late night crossing.

On the 26th there was heavy fighting along Chickamauga Creek and at Ringgold with Gen. Cleburne holding back the Federals, who had some 5500 casualties. Of our troops the estimated casualties were 2500, of some 46,000 troops, but over 4100 were captured. The pursuit ended in north Georgia and Gen. Bragg pulled together his army. On Nov. 30th Gen. Bragg’s resignation was accepted, and Gen. Longstreet withdrew from Knoxville and made winter quarters at Greeneville. A little over a week ago, Dec. 6th, Gen. Sherman and his troops were in Knoxville.

Now for a more detailed  eyewitness account.

This is from Peter W. Alexander, who has kindly sent us a narrative based upon his personal observations. He has been justly famous for his dispatches to the Savannah Republican.   

The crisis in Chattanooga was apparent by Oct. 27th, when the Federals brushed aside our pickets and moved a large force by water to Brown’s Ferry to supply the city. From this point, Gen. Bragg lost all chance of a successful siege. I was not present at the time that Gen. Laws’ Alabama brigade was simply pushed out of the way by the Federals; however, I was with a group of other correspondents in the tent of Gen. Breckenridge on the afternoon of the 26th, and I felt he was not overly concerned about our military situation. I was later told by a fellow reporter, Personne,  that on Oct. 28th, Gens. Bragg, Longstreet, and Jenkins witnessed from Lookout Mountain the arrival of two corps of the Army of the Potomac. I have no record of their comments but likely they related to fire and brimstone.

I sent on my dispatch on Oct. 28th when I was with Gen. Bragg’s army. I declared that it was my firm belief that the past 48 hours changed the course of the war in the West. The problem of supplying the beleaguered Federal army in Chattanooga had been solved unless immediate action was taken by our forces. Gen. Longstreet tried at midnight with one division to drive the Federals from Brown’s Ferry and failed.  Then the following day, Gen. Jenkins made an attempt with his division to entrap the Federals in Lookout Valley and was himself surrounded by two Federal divisions and Granger’s corps and was barely able to fight his way out. The Federal supply line was now unstoppable. The Federal occupation of Chattanooga was now a fixed fact.

Some of my colleagues still refused to give up on Gens. Bragg and Jenkins and wrote that Gen. Jenkins had inflicted serious casualties on the Yankees and that Gen. Bragg had full control of the situation in Lookout Valley. In addition, these falsehoods were compounded by claims that Lookout Valley was not worth a general battle and that control of the city rested with our forces in control of Lookout Mountain.  These willing deceptions to raise public morale are what made the eventual disaster here more surprising as the public as a general rule did not realize that one failed move had been followed by another, and then another.

We were well aware that Gen. Sherman was coming with troops from west Tennessee; we could not understand why Gen. Longstreet was sent to Knoxville, rather than having him as the key player in establishing a strong defensive position here. We were also waiting for Gen. Bragg’s grand plan to crush the Yankees.  Instead his army was kept in front of Chattanooga with what I would call “a wait and see attitude” as if Gen. Bragg had complete freedom of movement and could checkmate any Federal move. This was more than a gentleman’s chess match. The captured Federals revealed repeatedly that the great attack would be against Lookout Mountain. The soldiers here by this time were in need of blankets, firewood, and horses, while every officer from a brigadier upward had an armed mounted escort averaging about 40 men, one had 125. Gen. Lee in turn has only a small cavalry escort. Gen. Bragg has done nothing to stop this display of military vanity by his highest-ranking officers; the great majority of whom have asked  since February for him to resign. Perhaps he thought appealing to their personal pride would make his own position more secure.

We knew by Nov. 17th that Gen. Grant with the addition of Gen. Sherman’s forces had 82,000 troops, exclusive of cavalry. I now know that the Richmond Examiner reported on Nov. 12th that a great battle was brewing in north Georgia, and four days later that the great field of battle would be Chattanooga. I reported on Nov. 21st that the storm had gathered, and the thunderbolt was about to be launched. I feel the top generals here were as fascinated by the enemy’s growing presence as are people who watch an impending train wreck; it is too fascinating to look away from, but there is a paralysis of the will as it appears unstoppable.

On Nov. 22nd, Gen. Bragg inexplicably sent Gen. Buckner and his division to aid Gen. Longstreet in Knoxville. One army correspondent whose article I read later wrote on Nov. 20th wrote that all was harmonious at Gen. Bragg’s headquarters, and the plans were to spend the winter in Nashville. At what we now know was the eve of the battle, Gen. Bragg had 40,000 soldiers in two corps, one under Gen. Hardee on the right, and on the left a corps on the right commanded for the first time by Gen. Breckenridge. Both were on the crest of Missionary Ridge.

The first day Gen. Grant’s forces under Gen. Thomas took control of the valley below the center of Missionary Ridge. I believed they simply made a military demonstration and that their primary interest was in getting more firewood, and the move on the left was to force Gen. Bragg to weaken his forces by diverting some to protect his supply base at Chickamauga Station. I saw by this point that there would be an assault on Lookout Mountain by the next day.

Then on Nov. 24th came an attack on both flanks of Gen. Bragg’s army.  Gen. Hooker attacked our two brigades on Lookout Mountain, and the guns on the summit could not lower their fire to protect our troops. At midnight the division moved to Missionary Ridge. There was fighting until 10 PM on Lookout Mountain, and it was obvious that our officers had mismanaged the entire defense. I had no reports on this day of what Gen. Sherman had accomplished at Tunnel Hill on our right flank. Some of us thought the Federals lacked sufficient forces to engage in a general attack.

However, the next morning Gen. Sherman attacked at dawn with six divisions as opposed to Gen. Cleburne’s single division, but Sherman made no headway, as our men had the higher ground and an almost inexhaustible supply of boulders to cast down on the invaders. The real problem was the success of the Federal attack led by Gen. Thomas on the center of Missionary Ridge. His line was two miles wide on the plain below the ridge and looked as endangered as Pickett’s Charge. Then the first line of rifle pits was taken, and the advance stalled due to murderous fire from the second and third line. The obvious choice would be a retreat, but they kept on coming.  Now the contour of the ground meant the defenders were firing over their heads as the Yankees crouched down. Next there was a Federal crossfire on the ridge from the front and the left, and our troops ran for it. They careened down the other side discarding everything they carried, and the Federals took the center.

I could not at the time find words to describe this to my readers; I wanted to mask my disgust. It was a pure panic and unstoppable; Gen. Bragg had to withdraw to Chickamauga Station, and there was no Rosecrans this time who was waiting to regroup or withdraw behind the walls of a city. Gen. Sherman pursued in full force, and another day of intense battle followed. For all that has been said of Gen. Bragg and his failures, this was the first battle that I had witnessed that was the fault of the troops themselves. The officers did all they could on the Ridge. Gen. Hardee had to withdraw from a position he had successfully defended, and Gen. Cleburne had to pull back to cover the retreat and take the full assault of Sherman’s forces.

That night I sent a dispatch from Chickamauga Station. I felt the flight of the men in the center caused the collapse of all fronts as the belief spread that total defeat had occurred all along the line, not just in the center. Otherwise, there would not have been such a complete rout, as the panic spread all along the Ridge. Gen. Hardee had successfully held his position, and the Federal casualty rate in dead and wounded exceeded ours by some three times. The ground here was more favorable than Fredericksburg, and yet we were defeated by our own troops. The next day we went across country to Dalton, Georgia to make use of the rail lines to Atlanta. The campaign to defend all of Georgia had now begun.

Sources:

Andrews, J. Cutler. The South Reports the Civil War.

Long, E. B. The Civil War Day by Day.

 

James Senefeld writing as Nevill Blacklidge, Decatur, Georgia, December 11th, 1863 

We have received as early Christmas gifts a copy of the journal of Gen. Edwin Porter Alexander and from Gen. James Longstreet a year-end letter all detailing the Knoxville campaign. We have additionally been given permission to  provide our readers details that will not compromise the future movements of our brave troops. With these constraints in mind, we will now share the most interesting portions from both. This current article is based upon Gen. Alexander’s private journal.

Nov. 3, 1863 11:30 PM Rossville, Ga.

At 3 PM today, I was ordered from my post near Lookout Mountain to report to Gen. Longstreet’s headquarters near Rossville, Ga. I arrived about 9 PM, and received confirmation from him that after forty days of inactivity following Chickamauga, Gen. Bragg plans to attack the Federals in Chattanooga. To insure that back door is guarded, Gen. Longstreet, myself, and a large contingent are to go to Knoxville to block Gen. Burnside’s army from coming here. Gen. Hooker has already arrived in the state. Would that Gen. Lee were here as well. I am to move the artillery to a point where we can take the cars as close to Knoxville as possible.

Nov. 10, 1863 Tyner’s Station

We have now been here six days awaiting train transportation. No preparations had been made for us in terms of food; I had some lead shot melted down from bullets and went hunting with my long Enfield musket and got rabbits, quail, and one wood cock, the first I ever killed. I shot at him three times and then saw him standing nearby. I approached him slowly, and saw that he did not move or blink his eyes. I struck him with my ramrod to save ammunition and found that he had been fatally shot and expired with his eyes open standing upright. He had never ruffled a feather as he died from a ruptured artery.

Near our camp was an old woman with several half-grown pigs. Yesterday, at breakfast I told my companions that I wished that a soldier would shoot one of these pigs and then I could seize it as contraband. A soldier went by chasing a pig in no time, although  I had wished for something improbable, it was happening in front of my eyes. There was then an explosion of a musket some 200 yards away in the woods, and from the head of the table in our tent, I could see two soldiers, one with a musket and one with a bag, I pulled my revolver from where it was hanging on the tent pole, handed it over to my artillery chief Frank Huger, who was at the foot of the table, and told him which man to apprehend, “Run Frank! Follow the fellow with the bag, not the one with the gun.”

Huger was off before anyone else could get out of the tent and chased the fellow into an infantry brigade camp, then ran into a tent, and caught him, and brought him back at pistol point. The man was then sent with a guard, and a note to the brigadier general, telling of his crime. The bag with the pig stayed with us. I then called on the old woman to offer my apologies and told her that her pig was dead, and despite all we could do, there was a lawless element among our soldiers, and that one of them had shot her pig and that he had been sent up for punishment. I then asked her what would be a fair price for the pig, and she said $15.00. I paid her, and that glorious pig was honestly ours.

Nov. 11, 1863 Tyner’s Station

Our stop here, that stretched from two days to a week, has ended as at 1 PM flatbed cars arrived and we loaded guns, caissons, harness, ourselves, and our baggage on this train. This was very troublesome and took some two hours. The horses were sent by land, the train soon ran out of wood, and we cut rail fences to supply our needs.

Nov. 14, 1863 near Loudon

A day of riding on this flatcar had given us more fresh air than can be healthy for anyone. We lay wrapped in blankets in among the guns. I got off the train to await the horses along with Col. Clarke. We have spent two days in and around this area and made plans for a pontoon bridge near where the Federals had burned a bridge at Hough’s Ferry. We find here in East Tennessee much active opposition to the Confederacy. There at bushwhackers in abundance, and people are suspicious of opening doors to any strangers. The battalion came up last night and today, Saturday, we are working on the bridge, thanks to some South Carolina captains and their companies. We failed, however, to capture the Federal pickets who will spread word of our presence.

Nov. 15, 1863 Hough’s Ferry

Today we crossed the pontoon bridge. The enemy had a small rear guard to impede our advance, and we set out an advance guard. We find that Gen. Burnside has pulled back from a camp near Lenoir Station and is moving back into Knoxville. Had we been provided with accurate maps, we would not have turned into Lenoir, but turned and cut off Burnside’s retreat.

Nov. 16, 1863 Campbell’s Station

Today we encountered Gen. Burnside’s forces in the afternoon, and I had set up a strong heavy artillery position. I wanted to engage the enemy in a slow but steady artillery duel until our men could flank them. This failed as Gens. Jenkins and Law in a feud over rank entangled their forces and the enemy withdrew. There are three memories I have of today. First the batteries did a splendid job. Second, one incident of note was that as Gen. Longstreet and his staff arrived, one of Woolfort’s four 20 pound Parrott guns exploded. Fragments whizzed everywhere, but fortunately, no one was hurt. Third, shortly afterward, a 20 pound rifled shot from the enemy cut off both arms and a leg of a soldier near me. He was kneeling behind a limber on his right knee, and was putting a fuse in a shell with both hands. This shot first stuck the horse and ranged through the length of his body going slightly downward, then hit the splinter bar and passed under the axle hitting the fellow’s left leg above the knee, his left arm above the elbow, and his right at or below it, leaving three limbs in shreds. He was alive when carried off  the field but soon died from blood loss.

Nov. 17, 1863 near Knoxville

We approached this city with the enemy still contesting our presence. By noon we saw the city; we had to resupply our sharpshooters and bring forward a whole battery to secure an area to shelter our forces. We camped for the first of several days at the house of a man named Hazen. Our forces had previously built a badly located fort at the same time they fortified Cumberland Gap. The Federals now had this fort, which they renamed Ft. Stewart, but they had been in a hurry and did not have a complete fortified line running to the river.

Nov. 18, 1863 Knoxville

Our plan today was to drive in all the Federal pickets. This would let us determine the location of the enemy’s main line in order to plan an attack. Some 1400 yards in front of the main lines, a group of dismounted Federal cavalry had built a three foot high wall of fence rails and could not be dislodged. After a considerable amount of wasted time, Gen. Longstreet ordered me to move up some artillery, and clear the area. I was being stingy with our ammunition, and wanted to make best use of as not much had come forward to us. I found we could move a battery under cover past the second Armstrong house and bring ourselves within 300 yards of the “rail fence” cavalry. There was also a low swale where I could hide two units of infantry. This was to prevent the enemy from behind cover coolly picking off members of our artillery. I planned to send solid shot through the rail fences, and then have some Howitzers came out in the open at a distance of 800 yards to throw shrapnel behind the enemy line along the fence. We could see the rails flying and men killed by the solid shot. In 3 minutes I sent the infantry forward. Some 40 yards from the fence line, our men dropped and started firing, so that we had to halt our artillery fire.

Officers soon got the men up, and they moved forward and we took the line and captured the dismounted cavalry. I luckily got an India rubber poncho. I had always spoken of one and told Frank that day surely someone among all of Burnside’s army must have a poncho that would fit me. We (Frank Huger and I) were advancing with the skirmishers, when I saw a dead cavalry man with a poncho neatly rolled up. I said to Frank who was about 20 yards away to my left, “Frank! Here’s that man I was telling you about! Got my poncho! Here he is now!” Frank answered back, “Yes, Aleck! That’s the very fellow! I always knew you were right about that!” At that point a tall, lank South Carolinian had stopped to load his musket and had the benefit of our conversation. I asked him very soberly, “My friend, that’s my poncho on that dead Yankee. Won’t you please take it off him and give it to me.” He looked at me and looked at the Yankee with a mental debate of how this could have happened. He eventually concluded that the Yankee could not dispute my title, there was no reason that he should, so he rolled over the Yankee and gave me the poncho.

I also have with me Buster, my half-grown pointer puppy, who was given to me last May.  After the battle I went to a field hospital to see Capt. Winthrop who had a broken collar-bone that had been reset. Capt. Winthrop had been the one who dashed forward when the infantry fell down to fire some 40 yards from the rail fence. An Irish gunner nearest me had called out, “Faith, and there goes the captain!” Capt. Winthrop had on a short, black, velveteen shooting coat and corduroy trousers with his short, stout legs and a high English seat in the saddle, he had his elbows square out and his sabre drawn. He was urging his horse to a run. Before he reached the infantry their officers had urged them to rise up and run toward the fence, but the Capt. is a model of bravery, but he had taken a fall.

Capt. Winthrop was now in an upstairs bedroom; when we got to the foot of the stairs, Buster had to be coaxed to climb the stairs, much like an elephant in a circus. I try to avoid visits to surgical areas, and I was relieved that Captain was upstairs, and the surgery with amputations  occurring downstairs. Now Buster was bounding in all directions when he found the upstairs hallway, he bounded into Capt. Winthrop’s room and out again, and right out the open window at the end of the hall; he fell onto the grass and was unhurt. The Capt. had no end of laughter at Buster.

Nov. 20, 1863

From this point, we had the Federal forces kept behind their lines, and we began to construct lines of our own. I planned to set up artillery to bombard Ft. Stewart knowing its weakness and to prevent any enemy sorties. We found a small ferry boat which was a great help, and with this we hauled horseshoes. If this sounds strange, we were short of horseshoes and stripped every dead horse and mule we could find.

Nov. 22, 1863 Knoxville

By this date everything was ready for an attack on Ft. Stewart tomorrow. Our river trips revealed something discouraging. The enemy in Knoxville were throwing all the dead animals into the water in order to contaminate the water supply. Then Maj. Fairfax of Longstreet’s staff said we should ferry all of our artillery set up to fire on the fort across the river and place it on a high hill to enfilade the fort. I did not like the idea much, but it came from the general commanding.

Nov. 25, 1863

After two days of hard labor where we have dragged equipment to areas where horses could not go, we are ready in a new position to fire on the fort. There is another delay as more troops are coming and Longstreet wants the largest force possible and old Gen. Ledbetter who built Ft. Stewart is on his way to give advice.

Nov. 26, 1863

Gens. Ledbetter, Longstreet and others have surveyed the area and decided we should bring all the artillery back down the hills and across the river as they have found a better place to fire on the enemy, and we will visit it tomorrow. I am disgusted with this delay; we have given the enemy more time, and they have each day improved their fortifications in plain sight of our forces. I can’t say anything because Longstreet has seen this better location, and I have not. I believe if I had been there I could have made a more careful examination of the terrain than either Ledbetter or Longstreet, as the latter has never been able to understand the importance of knowledge of the ground in a military situation. I have been told that I may accompany the group tomorrow. Parker had to move his forces across the river again, meaning infantry and artillery.

Nov. 27, 1863

Early this morning a group of us examined the ground  for attack after Gen. Wheeler and his cavalry drove off the enemy. When we saw the ground there was no cover for a mile, it was all open ground with streams. Even Gen. Ledbetter said nothing. The decision was made to attack Ft. Sanders as we should have done five days ago. We could get within 200 yards of the enemy once we took out their rifle pits which were not visible from the fort. The enemy’s lines on both sides made it impossible to fire on the fort. There was near the fort a limestone sink where hundreds of men could stand unseen with sharpshooters ringing the edge. Gen. Ledbetter should have told us about this limestone sink when we first discussed the fort, but he was so demoralized about his ideal location for an attack being impossible, he made no further comments on strategy. Now the attack will be sunrise on Sunday the 29th.

I made a mistake this day that I will regret for months if not years. After this tiring reverse of planning artillery emplacements followed by another and another change we were back to square one, I was tired of Longstreet’s headquarters. Gen. Jenkins came to me and said we needed to return to Gen. Longstreet’s headquarters to tell him that Gen. McLaws had not provided his men with ladders for the next day’s attack and there was no way to know what they might encounter at the stockade fort. I pleaded off, due to exhaustion. Gen. Jenkins came back later to tell me that Longstreet paid no attention to him. Had I been along, I could have made a stronger case than just one more general. I received orders at 8 PM for a pre-dawn attack without employing the main force and artillery. At 11 PM three hours away the rifle pits would be attacked and taken. Then a battery would fire shots at dawn and the fort would be taken. These signals would also alert the enemy of our attack.

Nov. 29, 1863

I had thought that Gen. Jenkins’ influence would be enough and then I had now found out that two hours after Jenkins’ visit, Longstreet completely changed his plan of attack. Had I been there, some intimation of the plan might have enabled me to prevent this Bedlam. We attacked today without proper planning, a storming column, without ladders, guides, or special instructions. The formation was three brigades abreast just as in the wheat field plan that we had rejected. Our units were involved only in firing the signal guns. The men returned to the lines even as the firing ended from the fort. The message had come that Gen. Bragg had been defeated at Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge, and we were to abandon Knoxville. Gen. Longstreet should have continued the attack at this time, but he prepared for trains to take us south. In those six hours, he could have defeated Burnside. Then we received news that Sherman was coming to attack us and that we could not return by the way that we had come.

December 4, 1863

As we were preparing to leave, it began to rain cats and dogs. I was reminded of a story my father told me. On one of the roads he used to travel, there was tavern named “Moon’s half way house”. Two travelers stopped for the night who were anxious to pass on early the next morning. About midnight they both awakened and thought it was raining. One decided to get up and look out; he groped for a while in the dark for a window sash and finally opened, by mistake, the door of a cupboard and thought he was out of doors looking out a window. “Well,” said the other, “is it raining?” The other responded,  after several sniffs in the cupboard, ”No, but it is dark as hell and smells cheesy.” Well, Nov. 4th was the cheesiest night of the war.

At ten o’clock we came to Gen. Martin’s camp, I was along with Gen. Longstreet and his staff.  Gen. Martin said that he had caught a spy; he was in Confederate uniform but had Federal issued underclothes. The man admitted that he was spy from the 8th Michigan cavalry.

“What shall I do with him?” asked Gen. Martin.

“We usually hang them in Virginia,” replied Gen. Longstreet.

Then Gen. Martin was yelling for a sergeant and one came from a campfire about twenty yards away, and he came up in his rubber pancho and saluted and was told to find a rope. He said that he had no rope, but that Richards (from the campfire group of couriers) had a rope halter on his horse. Then the general said to borrow it, and the sergeant called for Richards. He saluted, replied, and said he would get the rope. I was glad at this point that Gen. Longstreet moved on and we missed the hanging bee, which was proceeding with uncomfortable speed for anyone who did not want to be a witness.  Then we proceeded on a hard night’s march.

Dec. 5, 1863

We made 18 miles on the march from Knoxville. We are awaiting events and will keep marching away toward Georgia if possible. If not, we will watch the progress of events from East Tennessee.

Source: Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Senefeld writing as Nevill Blacklidge, Richmond, Virginia, December 24, 1863

Bean’s Station, Tennessee, December 18, 1863

Dear Nevill,

Here from another little known town we were supposed to be making our slow way back to Georgia. We are wintering here in East Tennessee. I wanted to give some of my impressions of the campaign that failed, for which I am sure that I will receive much of the blame, that is, if anyone ever wants to place any credence in reports by Gen. Bragg, now sent to where he can do the least damage, behind a desk in Richmond, a city where you hopefully are now also warm and safe.

About Nov. 1st I received hints that Gen. Bragg wanted to send me to East Tennessee to block Gen. Burnside’s advance. I had suggested this plan immediately after Chickamauga and received no support, but three armies were merging around Chattanooga and would be firmly in place by the New Year if  their progress was not impeded.  Gen. Bragg gave me a sardonic look as if to say that I had over-estimated Grant’s ability and that of his army. After my initial shock as to leaving the most crucial battleground  of the West, I wanted to do all I could to facilitate this plan, I knew what Gen. Bragg wanted, Pres. Davis also wanted, and I put forward my views. A rapid movement of my forces to Knoxville, moving mainly by train, could wipe out Gen. Burnside’s forces and return in time to fight Sherman before he arrived from the West and before Hooker came into the picture. I asked Gen. Bragg in a semi-serious way if I have 20,000 troops, but he knew not to spare that many.  I also told him that this expedition could not move quickly, but he had little doubt as to the security of his position.

We had come directly from Virginia in warm weather and now we were to suffer from lack of clothing, blankets, shelter, and even shoes. Our wagon transportation was also limited. Our hope was at Knoxville Gen. Wheeler could seize the heights above the city or gain some equally powerful advantage for our forces. About Nov. 16th we took in the early light the stumps for sharpshooters, but there was doubt, we found unattended some eighty wagons filled with supplies. On Nov. 23rd came a telegram from Gen. Bragg that the enemy had moved out from the city of Chattanooga and attacked him. He wanted an immediate assault on Knoxville.

The Nov. 28-29th assault on Ft. Stewart was to be led by Gen. McLaws with late night seizure of the rifle pits and a full-scale attack at dawn.  On the 28th based upon bad news from Gen. Bragg’s forces, Gen. McLaws wrote me that he considered we should call off the attack and move our forces immediately to the relief of Virginia. I replied that I was not at all sure there had been a serious battle in Chattanooga, and that there was no safety in our going to Virginia if Gen. Bragg had been defeated we would be fleeing our enemies and face both possible defeat and disgrace. I told him the only way to preserve our safety and honor was top go on with the attack as planned.

I watched the battle some 500 yards from the fort and the sharpshooters had been cautioned to hold their. A Major Goggin of Gen. McLaws’ staff soon came to tell me that the fort could not be entered due a network of wire surrounding the fort, and not person in McLaws’ command had so much as an axe. I therefore ordered the recall of Gen. Bushrod Johnson’s forces back to camp. Gen. Johnson begged to go forward, but I forbade him to do so believing the report of Maj. Goggin. I also sent recall orders to Gens. Jenkins and Anderson.

I soon realized there had been some mistake about the wire as I now saw men climbing over the parapet of the fort without difficulty. I believed that some of the regimental pioneers had wire-cutters and had breached the fence. The wire was of minor importance and no axes were needed. Had we continued the assault, we would have been in the fort in ten more minutes. Half an hour later, came an order from Gen. Bragg, who had been defeated and wanted me to immediately return. Orders were immediately issued for our trains to move south. As of now as we cannot return to join Gen. Bragg, we are going to winter near Knoxville.

I wish you the joys of the Holiday Season and may we meet again in this world.

James Longstreet

General Commanding, CSA

James L. Senefeld writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Rome, Georgia, November 8, 1863 

We now conclude our series on Chickamauga with reflections on this recent battle with two of our favorite heroes,  Gens. Gordon and Alexander. General Gordon has kindly written us his thoughts which he has authorized for publication as he is with Gen. Lee’s army, but has read the dispatches and telegraphic communications about our situation with great interest.

To Nevill Blacklidge,

I am pleased to share some thoughts on this battle which I have followed closely and to reflect on the strategies undertaken by both sides. Your readers who would expect me to second guess Gen. Bragg’s strategy and success, or the lack of it, should realize this; it is much easier to criticize a commander than command an army. When Gen. Bragg surrendered what appeared to be two strong positions at Cumberland Gap and Chattanooga, he was subject in both cases to flanking movements by Union forces who had the freedom of mobility that he did not possess. Gen. Rosecrans was too wise to attack Gen. Bragg in his stronghold at Chattanooga, but crossed the Tennessee River above and below the city, then brought up his artillery to shell the city. We now know that he marched and counter-marched troops in full view of our forces, much as Gen. John Macgruder did near Williamsburg, Va. last year. Drums were beaten and bugles were sounded over great distances in the mountains. Union forces used axes and saws with much noise to simulate extensive boat construction.

Behind the hills and out of view of our troops, the real work took place in Rosecrans’ army of practicing bridge construction, and building of a flotilla of 50 small boats that could ferry 2500 troops at time across  rivers.  Each of the boats contained 50 heavily armed men. Then after their landing as a defensive force, across a pontoon bridge came more infantry and artillery. These bridges were constructed from enormous popular logs hand-hewn into boats to act as pontoons. Thousands of Union cavalry then risked crossing rivers on their horses with very few casualties These forces compelled Gen. Bragg to abandon Chattanooga. He could not with his insufficient forces control 100 miles of river-frontage. He is one of the boldest fighters in our Confederate army, but he had to retreat.

I grew up in north Georgia, so the scenes of what is now justly called “Bloody Chickamauga” are very familiar to me. No battle in history outside our country has surpassed the casualty rates of this battle, not even Antietam and Gettysburg, although more men were lost. This picturesque countryside will never be the same for me. The woodland fighting at Shiloh did not have such heavy losses, nor was it the longer range of rifles or more destructive artillery; it was the hand-to-hand fighting of men so close that powder marks were burned forever into their faces.

Finally, while both sides may claim victory, Gen. Rosecrans’ enemies are having him removed as Grant is now the coming man. Without debating the success, or lack of it of any Union general, I want to reflect on what Gen. Baxton Bragg has achieved so far in this fall campaign, as to why he should remain in command and conversely why Gen. Rosecrans will not. First, Gen. Bragg threw his army in front of Rosecrans and forced him to halt his advance and take a position on the Chickamauga River. Second, he assailed Rosecrans in his stronghold and drove him from the field. Third, at the end of two days of carnage the two wings of Bragg’s army joined forces on the field of Chickamauga with their battle flags flying, and their shouts of triumph could be heard for miles through the forests of Georgia.

I conclude with Hurrah for General Bragg and his gallant men!

Cordially,

John B. Gordon, Gen. CSA

We now follow with a condensed, but accurate, summary of comments made by Gen. Edward Porter Alexander before his departure from Chattanooga this week.

Gen. Alexander:

The fighting that I about to describe was all on the defensive; I believe there is almost no precedent for such bloody and prolonged conflict.  There was at no point concentration along an extensive line; it was men firing from gun pits, behind ex tempore gun works, and small bodies of artillery. Most of the future battles of this war, I will predict, will be the Fredericksburg style with long rows of protected artillery with open terrain. This will remain a rare battle in a wilderness area.

To begin, a month after Gettysburg on August 2nd we arrived in Orange C. H., Virginia. We camped where there had been a structure, but all that was left was a cider press. I had a week’s furlough to see my wife and daughter. A week after my return, I was notified on Sept. 8th of Gen. Longstreet’s move to Chattanooga to reinforce Gen. Bragg. Gen. Longstreet had suggested such a move as far back as May. On Sept. 9th we broke camp to march to Louisa C. H, en route to Petersburg where we would take the cars for Chattanooga. For reasons unknown to me,  Pickett’s division spent the rest of the season in Petersburg, and the Washington Artillery also stayed behind. I took another week’s furlough and met my men in Petersburg, Va.; we left from there on Sept. 17th. We were still hundreds of miles away on the 22nd when we heard the news of Chickamauga. We reached Atlanta on 2 PM on the 24th, and the service was so crowded we were 22 hours reaching the terminus at Ringgold, a distance of about 110 miles. Our 852 mile journey took us 182 hours, about the pace of a horse on a slow walk.

On Sept. 27th, I rode into Chattanooga to meet with Gen. Longstreet; we organized our batteries and on Oct. 5th, we shelled the city, from early morning as we were camped near Lookout Mountain by the river. This was done on orders from Gen. Bragg, we fired carefully and slowly all day from a variety of positions. It became apparent that the shelling would not drive the Union forces from the city, and Gen. Longstreet renewed suggestions that he had made for weeks that we take the Yankee’s railroad terminus at Bridgeport, and flank the city from the east. On Oct. 10-12th I was involved in preparing this expedition. Oct. 10th I visited Lookout Mountain where I had pleasant memories of a visit there in 1850. On the 11th we had a delightful 40 mile ride to reconnoiter Bridgeport. There were two pontoon bridges and a little stockade with about 100 men in it. This was the only obstacle and was not considered a serious one. On Oct. 12th I delivered my sketches to Gen. Longstreet. During this time Pres. Davis had made an extended visit to our headquarters.

Nothing ever came of this “Bridgeport Plan” due to changes at Bragg’s headquarters. It was now becoming apparent that our victory at Chickamauga was a fruitless one, and there was great dissatisfaction with Gen. Bragg. President Davis had favored him despite the ill reports. He also favored his Point classmate, Gen. Northrup, whom he made Commissary General and despite his ineffectiveness had continued at his post as did Gen. Bragg. More about the commanding general later. Gen. Rosecrans was sent into exile in St. Louis on Oct. 19th, Gen. George Thomas was in command for four days to be followed by Gen. Grant on Oct, 23rd, who is now in command of all Union armies in the West.

We had news, most of it confirmed, that Federal reinforcements were coming in great numbers, Hooker with two corps from Meade’s army, Sherman with an army from Vicksburg, Hurlbut from Memphis and Burnside from Knoxville. This became apparent to us by October 28th. Hazen’s brigade was arriving in pontoon boats opposite Lookout Mountain at Moccasin Bend. We realized the Federals had read all of our messages except those sent in cipher.

Then on Oct. 30th we occupied the Mountain and shelled the city until Nov. 5th. While camped there in October a cipher message was sent to me from Gen. Bragg’s camp; as I have always enjoyed ciphers, I set to work on this one. It had been intercepted while on its way to Gen. Burnside in Knoxville. There were 157 words which were disarranged. We knew from this message that Gen. Burnside would be heading toward us. Late in the afternoon on Nov. 3rd we were encamped near Rossville, and I was ordered to Gen. Longstreet’s headquarters, it was nearly nine in the evening when I arrived. Our orders are to move east to confront Gen. Burnside; I ask that you not print this information until we have safely departed this area.

You asked me to comment on why we are losing control of this conflict. I believe the flaw in the command system has resulted in commanding generals in the field having too much range of action. Only the President has control. Gen. Lee could not and will not leave the Army of Northern Virginia and cannot assert control over the situation here. In hindsight we should have come here instead of moving into Pennsylvania in June. Failing that, we should after Gettysburg have come here instead of sitting for weeks in Virginia.  If Gen. Lee could command all forces and had the freedom to come and go, many of problems of this year would never have occurred.

Now for some final thoughts on Gen. Bragg. He came to command this western army after the death last year of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, He fought two drawn battles near Murfreesboro at the end of 1862 and over New Year’s of this year. He has always been known as a stern disciplinarian. I recall the morning after my battalion joined me at Chattanooga, that there was another execution of one of our soldiers for desertion. He wanted some food to eat and he offered to join the Federals. I saw troops on three sides of a square, and after he was shot, the man in charge came forward to fire a bullet into his head for good measure, although it was obvious that the prisoner was dead. The legend was that Gen. Bragg had a man shot every day.

I also know stories about his stubborn streak. One of my favorites is from Gen. Dick Taylor. At a frontier post Gen. Bragg was at the same time quartermaster, adjutant, and captain of his company, and as captain he quarreled with himself as quartermaster, and as quartermaster turned down the captain’s request for supplies as costing too much, then as captain he appealed to the adjutant who sided with the quartermaster and rebuffed the captain which was, of course, himself. To protect his position his saved the messages he had written as  he was three different officers. It was said by his ranking officer at the time that if he couldn’t find someone to argue with he would argue with himself. He is still arguing with anyone not his equal in rank, which is everyone he meets here in Tennessee, except perhaps President Davis.

He has never been regarded as either clever or articulate; he is said to have the devil’s own time in reading a map and always keeps one finger on his current position, afraid that he might lose his way. I believe if he is replaced here he will receive a desk job near Pres. Davis, and that Gen. Joe Johnston who despises both of them will be in command and stop Gen. Grant’s advance.

Thank you for listening to me, Mr. Blacklidge,  and may we meet this coming year in Washington when it becomes the true capital of our southern nation.

Sources:

Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy.

Gordon, John B. Reminiscences of the Civil War.

 

James L. Senefeld writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, October 13, 1863

We continue our series on the war in the West with an extended interview with Lieut. General James Longstreet.

Gen. Longstreet:

I was ordered by Gen. Lee to come to north Georgia and Chattanooga on August 31, 1863. I responded two days later that the greatest difficulty would be in preparing our animals for transport. The plan was that my army’s presence would draw Gen. Burnside and others away from the Federal front in Virginia as commanded by Gen. Meade. The trains arrived a week later on the 9th of Sept. in Orange Court House, Virginia. Gen. Lee’s last words to me as he held onto the stirrup of my horse were, “Now, general, you must beat those people out in the West.”

I responded, “If I live, but I would not give a single man of my command for a fruitless victory. ”

Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner by this time had moved from his post in east Tennessee to come to Chattanooga, with perhaps 10,000 men, and the 2000 men left there in the Cumberland Gap area under Gen. Frazer surrendered shortly after to Gen. Burnside without a fight. I mention this as a recurring concern that the back door to Tennessee and north Georgia was now unguarded. I had been told the rail transports could get us to the West in two days; it was 11 days before I arrived, and not until the 25th that my artillery arrived.

I arrived at Gen. Bragg’s headquarters on a bright, moonlit night about 11 P.M. on Sept. 19th. I did not like the surrounding area on our long ride from Ringgold, Georgia and feared we would be fired upon, but we could not turn back, and we made our ride without incident, but I heard the activity of moving men in the woods much of the time. I must tell you candidly that thoughts of Gen. Jackson’s fate last spring were constantly in my mind, be it friendly fire or the enemy’s, I would be just as dead, and so would Gen. Lee’s plans in as much as the part he asked me to play.

I will briefly describe the problems with out southern rail system to explain where we were for eleven days. We went from Orange C. H., Virginia through the Carolinas to Augusta, Georgia then through Atlanta to Dalton and Ringgold. The road from Augusta to Ringgold is a single track. Then I rode some distance to find Gen. Bragg. I was given orders for an attack at dawn on the 20th, and informed that I was one of two wing commanders along with Gen. Leonidas Polk.

The plan as devised on the 18th by Gen. Bragg was for my wing to cross the Chickamauga River,  strike the enemy’s left and then roll it back on his right by a wheel to the left so as to come between the enemy and Chattanooga. There had so much work to bring this about on the 18th and 19th that Gen. Rosecrans was fully aware of what was about to happen. I had been given a map and instruments by the commanding general and saw features of the ground from Chickamauga to Mission Ridge and beyond that to Lookout Mountain.  At early dawn I found the left wing in the following order: Gens. Stewart, Johnson, Hindman, Preston, with Hood’s brigades in the rear, and Gen. Buckner’s artillery constituting some 30 pieces. However, Hindman, Johnson, and Hood were without artillery.

There was no artillery chief, but then again there was no open field where artillery could be of use. The hour of battle, the breaking dawn, came but the right wing was not organized. Some troops were without rations as the supply wagons had become lost. Much of the right wing was at this time some half-mile from the line. The line should have constituted the forces of Gens. D. H. Hill, Breckenridge, Cleburne, Cheatham, and Walker’s reserve behind Hill.

Gen. Bragg heard no opening sounds of battle and rode to the front to investigate. He found the right wing was not in place; repeated his battle orders, and finally had to ride to the right wing to give peremptory commands to attack. Although the road to our right was open, our commander did not order our attack there but stuck with the original plan. The Federal Gen. George Thomas’ lines were very displaced, but he had made a bold attempt the night before on the 19th to use rails and logs to enhance his artillery emplacements.

By 11 AM it was apparent that the grand wheel to the left was not working, and I requested and was given permission to attempt to break Gen. Thomas’ line. Gen. Hood was part of an early surge through the forest and came under the heavy artillery fire of  Gen. Thomas’s works. Gen. Hood’s limes were fast losing strength under this galling fire. The first lines were decimated, but reserves came forward and a bold push gave us the first line of the enemy, who finally gave way. Then Gen. Hood was seriously wounded; the first account was that he was mortally wounded, and Gen. Benning cut loose a horse from a captured gun and rode to me with the news; he was now hatless and sure both that Gen. Hood was dead and his brigade all torn to pieces. I asked him to go back and look for at least one man, and soon two brigades burst through the bush, and our lines were reformed.

As nothing could be gained by a wheel to the left, I changed the orders to a wheel to the right, and Gen. Buckner complained that in such a wheel he would be “left in the air”. As we attempted this move, Gen. Hindman came up to report on two extensive Federal cavalry attacks on our left. Our left now had moved close to the enemy’s line of artillery on their right. I rode along the lines to sight the enemy’s artillery positions, and came under fire of sharpshooters at that point; they were behind trees and in the bushes. Gen. Buckner was ordered to line up 12 guns to oppose the enemy positions that I had marked. By now it was 1 o’clock, and I ordered up my  lunch.

So far, this had been a dry, hot, dusty day, and we all felt the fatigue. We had under a tree a lunch of Nassau bacon and sweet potatoes, as we only had white potatoes in Virginia, these were a real treat. The river was a mile away and water was therefore limited, and other liquids were over the border.  When we were half-finished, our pleasure was interrupted by a shell fragment that came tearing through the woods, passed through the book of a nearby courier as he sat on his horse, and struck our chief of ordnance, Col. P. T. Manning, who was apparently gasping in the last throes of death. Friends sprang forward to provide comfort and relief, and it was discovered that before the shell fragment struck, he had been in such a hurry to finish his lunch, that he had just taken a large bite of sweet potato, and this seemed to be suffocating him; I suggested that it would be well to first relieve him of the sweet potato and give him a chance to breathe. This done, he began to breathe and was taken to a hospital tent, in  few days he returned to command.

Before we were through with our lunch, Gen. Bragg sent for me. I explained my change of order and described how we had seized more than 30 small artillery pieces and a large number of small-arms from the enemy. I told him it was time to abandon the wheeling movement, and take the reserves from the right to pursue the enemy down the road. Gen. Bragg responded that, “There is not a man in the right wing who has any fight in him.” From that without an opinion on my plan, and with an attitude that he wanted no suggestions from subordinates, he marched off. The left wing was moved off, and we continued our fight against the enemy batteries on our right. The opportunity was lost with the commanding general not in the field to have the right and left wings encircle Thomas and capture his army. Gen. Hill advocated this to no avail. Our cavalry had failed to close McFarland Gap and through this, Gen. Thomas made his successful escape. Gen. Thomas’ command was saved by his ignoring orders to remain in place until nightfall, and at 5:30 PM made his successful retreat.

The full Federal army and its reserve had been in battle; we had five brigades present, who had not recently been in action. With the commanding general not present, and his next in rank uncertain of a night pursuit without authority, no action was taken. Gen. Bragg did not know of his victory until the next day, the 21st. Estimated casualties on each side approached 17,000, some 33 percent of the troops engaged. I lost 44 percent of my command in two hours. Some 68 percent of the 10th Tennessee were casualties, the highest rate of any regiment. There was no action on the 21st as the commanding general was sure of the risks in facing the enemy’s artillery; the order to attack came on the 22nd. The army was stretched some six miles in front of Chattanooga, and the commanding general ordered an artillery barrage. This is how the next week passed with Gen. Alexander occasionally able to have a shell land in the city to cause some actual damage. Otherwise, we were encamped for a siege.

Then President Davis arrived on the 9th of October. He called all the commanders in to meet in Gen. Bragg’s office. After some talk in the presence of the commanding general, he asked each of us in turn to evaluate Gen. Bragg’s competence. The President was compelling us to evaluate our commander, and I felt he was stretching the power of his office and at first I gave an evasive answer as did Gens. Buckner and Cheatham who followed me. I believe the same was true for Gens. Polk and Hill.

The next day the President called me to a private conference and we talked all day. He had planned to assign me to an independent command, but there had been no time before the recent battle. Now we had low morale and were engaged in a siege. This was not the situation he had hoped for as the enemy had not been defeated or dispersed. Now Gen. Grant was moving his army toward us. The army that must challenge Grant would be part of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Trans-Mississippi Department.

I responded that I would be glad to serve in any capacity under Gen. Johnston. I was severely rebuked by Pres. Davis which only increased his displeasure about the situation. He discussed his problems with politicians and non-combatants. I told him these were simply spider webs, and I wanted to tender my resignation because he needed someone who more fitted his needs in this army under Gen. Bragg. He said the troops would never accept that change. Then I suggested going to Texas to take a command and resigning there, and he dismissed that idea. We discussed for some time a commander to replace Gen. Hood, and after that the sun was sinking behind Lookout Mountain. He gave me a firm handshake as we parted, but I knew changes were soon to be made.

A day or two later there was a lengthy conference and the President said the army must take the field. Then he asked for suggestions. Gen. Bragg said the enemy should be attacked from the east and driven from the city. I said we should move our base of operations to another location such as Rome, Georgia, with good rail access. The other commanders were asked their opinions, and they had no preference one way or the other. Pres. Davis said we would move our command to Rome, Georgia. Gen. Hill was then relieved of duty, Gen. Buckner took a leave of absence, and Gen. Hardee relieved Gen. Cheatham of command of the corps left him by Gen. Polk. I am now awaiting new orders.

I thank you for your patience in transcribing my lengthy comments. I have one regret, and you may print this section or not. My regret is that Gen. John Breckenridge did not call out Gen. Bragg more than a year ago for his insulting comments and fight him in personal combat. I think you know the phrase, “May the better man win,” and I know who would have won that contest of personal honor, and I know which army would now be in Chattanooga and looking to push the enemy from this state. I know also which general I will never serve with again, even if I must leave the Army. The President and General Commanding can either take my advice or leave it, but as I told Gen. Lee some six weeks ago I would not sacrifice one man in my command for a fruitless victory, and now I have lost thousands. No more need be said at this time.

Source: Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox.

James L. Senefeld, writing as Nevill C. Blacklidge, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee, October 1, 1863

We came here in early September after a visit to our family in Cahawba, and we have seen firsthand another battle, where the bloodshed has been horrific. The Confederate casualties number some 17,000, over one-third of our total forces, but the enemy have retreated behind their defensive walls at Chattanooga. Gen. Baxton Bragg is certain that he will starve out the Yankees as all access to the city by rail and wagon roads is blocked. The move on Chattanooga will soon come.

This reporter will now provide eyewitness details from leading officers gathered over the course of several weeks. As a brief background, in the past year, Generals Bragg and Rosecrans have dueled for the control of Tennessee from the New Year’s battle at Stone’s River near Murfreesboro to where we are now encamped near Lookout Mountain. I have talked during the past week with Generals Hill, Longstreet, and Alexander among others and will share their thoughts.

Gen. Bragg feels he has suffered at the hands of the press and has not been forthcoming in terms of our request for an interview. We have often in the past chastised this man for his brutality; he still has the ear of President Davis who has rewarded his old friends, Gen. Leonidas Polk and Gen. Baxton Bragg, beyond any reasonable expectation, and they have failed repeatedly. However, the blame has always fallen on subordinates. Apparently, class mates from the Point can do no wrong. While Gen. Bragg strokes his beard deep in some melancholy state cursing fate, as did Hamlet, Gen. Polk has now a splendidly dressed staff. For himself, he combines the girth and pomp of Gen. Winfield Scott with the extreme caution of “Little Mac” McClellan.

This recent battle has only served to confirm our judgment as this account will soon demonstrate, as well as the fairness of our label for him as Gen. Braxton “All” Bragg. Wherever Bragg goes there will always be the sound of gunfire; his executions of his own soldiers are a weekly drama, and legendary, from those soldiers stealing Yankee chickens to those joining the Federal troops to avoid starvation. The morale here is so far below that of Gen. Lee’s troops that this might well be an army with Napoleon in Russia. However, it is quieter than usual here, since it has been several months since anyone has rolled an exploding bomb with a defective fuse into General Bragg’s tent.

My first article of this series will focus on Lieut. Gen. D. H. Hill, the brother-in-law of the gallant Stonewall, now gone from our midst nearly half a year.

Gen. Hill:

On July 13th of this year I was responsible for the defenses of Richmond and Petersburg when I was ordered to come to the West. I was sitting in the yard of a house in Richmond talking with Mr. Poe, a relative of the poet, when Pres. Davis galloped into the yard dressed in a plain gray suit, with  small escort. He said that Gen. Rosecrans was about to advance on Gen. Bragg, and Gen. Hardee must undertake the defense of Alabama and Mississippi. I told him I could not do this as Gen. Stewart outranked me. He said he would take care of that tomorrow with an official document appointing me a Lieutenant General. I was to move toward Chattanooga. Pres. Davis asked me how soon could I start, and I said twenty-four hours. I was as  good as my word, and so was he as I became the next day a newly-minted Lieutenant General.

Upon arrival in the West, I reported to General Bragg, whom I had not seen since we were in an artillery battery at Corpus Christie, Texas, some 15 years or more past. Our other messmates then were John Reynolds killed at Gettysburg and George H. Thomas, now the right hand of Gen. Rosecrans. My first interview with Gen. Bragg was very unsatisfactory as he was gloomy and very taciturn. He had, for reasons I could not comprehend, abandoned Chattanooga on Sept. 8th, and the town was taken by Federal Gen. Crittenden the next day. Gen. Bragg had traded a fortress where he controlled all access for the fields and forests of north Georgia. Here, he felt, the enemy would be at a disadvantage if it came to an attack. Gen. Lee always said, although he failed to heed his own advice at Gettysburg, that all our victories came from waiting in a defensive position as we had too few men to attack the Federals. Here in the woods, there was no open field for the enemy’s artillery or our own to gain an advantage. The mountains and rivers were also a distinct disadvantage for both sides with some 50,000 troops contending for a victory.

Gen. Bragg’s relationship was not good with Gen. Polk and others in his command, including myself. Although our pickets were unaware of the situation, a local citizen told me the Gen. McCook and his troops had crossed some 35 miles below Chattanooga, and the key to any effective campaign was to hold Chattanooga, which was the Federals’ primary objective. To our dismay, having the railroad and wagon roads under our control, we had omitted concerns about the water routes, and small boats were constructed by the enemy that ferried thousands of troops and weeks of foodstuffs and forage into the city. The claim that the enemy had only a week’s worth of food soon proved to be false. However, Gen, Bragg never tired of firing at the city, with little or no effect except to interrupt our rest.

On September 11th and 13th two splendid opportunities to attack the  enemy were missed.  The corps commanders were given the orders to attack from Gen. Bragg’s headquarters some ten miles away. Lee or Jackson would have been in the field with their troops. Gen. Bragg was puzzled by the diverse locations of Federal troops; he was dismayed, he said, “by the popping out of rats from so many holes”, rats being Yankee troops. He should have attacked them one hole at a time and annihilated them. When Gen. Bragg was informed of a large Federal force to the south as reported by Lieutenant Baylor, he said it was all a lie. Our leader, Gen. Bragg, believing an attack would come from the rear, did not attack those forces in front of him, led by Crittenden and Thomas. His thinking was that our movement south would lure the enemy toward us, but of course when it was discovered that we had stopped, the element of surprise was gone.

The intelligence service has been so poor in this army, while so effective with Gen. Lee that I was shocked when I learned that Gen. Bragg had no idea for three days the location of the enemy. On the 14th he had sent contradictory orders to four corps commanders. it was impossible for them to move as directed as Gen. Rosecrans when he realized that we were not in retreat, reinforced and concentrated his army. By the 17th Rosecrans had his forces in place, and Bragg had us in a bad position with a river to our backs if we had to make a retreat in force. He had his paper defense ready where he could claim, win or lose, that his subordinate commanders had failed him.

Then on the Sept. 18-20th came the sequence of decisions that caused the bloodiest battle of the war in terms of casualty rates. On the 18th Gen. Bragg issued his orders for an attack. Had this been four days earlier, he could have flanked the enemy. Now Gen. Rosecrans knew his plan. On the 19th two groups drove back Wilder’s cavalry. On the 19th Gen. George Thomas learned of these small groups and ordered an attack west of the river. Now Gen. Bragg lost the initiative, reinforcements were sent to Gen. Forrest, but the Federal line was saved.

There was no general advance by our forces on the 19th. I knew that the enemy could be flanked from their artillery positions, but before I could order this I was called at 3 P.M. to a c0nference at Gen. Bragg’s headquarters. By evening Gen. Rosecrans drew back from Gen. Cleburne’s attack because he believed the rumors of a large Confederate force since Hood, Longstreet, Forrest, Cleburne, Polk, Alexander, and myself were all present, men from two great armies. What Gen. Rosecrans did not know was the tale of our diminished numbers, the full extent of the toll of the third year of the war.

On the 20th, victory was possible for us, but at a much greater expense as with the second day at Gettysburg, when all the advantages of an open field had vanished. Gen. Longstreet arrived at Gen. Bragg’s headquarters at 11 P.M. and Gen. Bragg developed a new command structure, Gen. Polk to take the right and Gen. Longstreet the left with Longstreet having the forces of Gens. Buckner, Hood, Hindman with their 22,000 infantry and artillery, and Wheeler with 4,000 cavalry. The plan was the same, an attack on the left and right. Gen. Polk’s headquarters as well as Gen. Bragg’s during the battle were unknown to me; my headquarters would be in the saddle at the line of battle. The order from Gen. Polk to commence the attack at dawn never reached me until 7:25 A.M. At 8:00 Gen. Bragg rode up and asked me why the attack had not commenced, and I told him I had just received the order and did not know if we were the assailants or to be assailed. Gen. Bragg  said angrily that he had found Gen. Polk sitting reading a newspaper at Alexander’s Bridge some half and hour ago, where my army was to have been at dawn.

The severest fighting came in the afternoon with Thomas defending against Longstreet and Polk. Gen. Thomas was ordered to retreat, but he did not; had he withdrawn at that point, he and all of his forces would have been captured, as it was he held, and a disaster was averted for the Federals. Gen. Bragg did not order an assault the next day. Gen. Forrest said an attack should be made as he was successfully assaulting the retreating forces, but Gen. Bragg was focused on the wounded and the burial of the dead. I knew he was always looking for victims. I do not mean just the wounded; I mean officers to blame, and I am now near or at the top of Bragg’s list. I believe this will be my last command in this theatre of the war as neither Pres. Davis or Gen. Lee will support me, and I will only under protest support any more decisions made by Gen. Bragg.