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that the question of rank was never mentioned in his conversations with General A. S, Johnston. It is not probable that he ever heard of this discussion: he certainly had no share in it. His relative rank was a matter to which he ascribed no importance, and his great responsibilities occupied his full attention. The subject is alluded to only to disclaim for him all connection with it. The command to which General Johnston was called thus embraced all the northern frontier west of the Alleghanies, and a portion of that mountain-barrier. The interests confided to him were not only vast, but often conflicting. The great Mississippi divided his department into two theatres of war with widely-separated bases, and it was penetrated by the solid wedge of the Northwest. A brief view of the situation of affairs in Kentucky and Missouri is necessary, in order to comprehend the campaign which General Johnston conducted against the powerful armies collected by the United States Governm
ent, more clearly than the Confederate, appreciated the character and importance of these mountaineers, and secured the adhesion of their leaders to the Federal side. The consequence was, the loss of the whole population, from the crests of the Alleghanies to their Western foot-hills, and the creation of a disloyal and hostile section, severing the East from the West, and converting the Gibraltar of the South into a stronghold for its foes. a line from the mouth of the Big Sandy River, wheefensive works in progress at different points from Columbus to Memphis might be expected to defy this fresh-water navy; but the River system of Kentucky itself was tributary to the North. The Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers, rising in the Alleghanies, flow first southwest, and thence by sharp bends to the North, traversing respectively the northern and Southern portions of Tennessee, and finally emptying close together into the Ohio near its mouth. The history of the attempt to defend t
here, in the abandonment of this projected sortie, an illustration of that vacillation and of those divided counsels which brought about the loss of the army at Fort Donelson. There is no need to pursue with unmerited blame any of the generals in command. While the springs of human action remain unchanged, such calamities will result from unforeseen combinations. Floyd was of a bold and impetuous temper, but he was a mountaineer; and, except a few months' experience in warfare among the Alleghanies, a novice in military operations. The moment he felt himself cooped up within intrenchments, his active spirit lost its spring. The correspondence already quoted shows the reluctance with which he came to Fort Donelson. When he went behind breastworks, he was already half beaten. On any other arena than that of war, Floyd would have been esteemed at least the equal of his associates. In a charge, he would not have fallen behind them in gallantry. But lie was a very sympathetic man
Sunday's battle was the most terrible that he had witnessed during his whole career. Badeau remarks (volume i., page 78) in regard to the assault on Sherman Sunday morning, that it was successful, after several hours of as desperate fighting as was ever seen on the American Continent. He says (page 89), With the exception of one or two severe struggles, the fighting of April 7th was light when compared with that of Sunday. Again (page 93): It was the fiercest fight of the war west of the Alleghanies, and, in proportion to the numbers engaged, equaled any contest during the rebellion. I have heard Sherman say that he never saw such terrible fighting afterward, and Grant compared Shiloh only with the Wilderness. He adds truly: In the battle, each party was forced to respect the fighting qualities of the other; the Northerners recognized the impetuous vigor and splendid enthusiasm of the rebels, and the latter found all the tenacity and determination of the North in those who oppose