degradation, the starving, the suffering of a mistrusted prisoner to the headquarters of the most brilliant general of modern times.
was marching northward with an army of ninety thousand men in four columns, on as many different roads, all bearing on some designated point.
One day he would ride with this column, the next day with that; but whenever he appeared among the soldiers it was one loud and continued cheer for “Billy Sherman
Here was the general whom everybody knew, and whom everybody loved.
had been the creator of the Western army, Sherman
was its idol.
He was, indeed, looked upon as a sort of common property, in which every man in the army had a special and particular interest.
I speak knowingly, as one who was a private soldier, and who associated with private soldiers under him. In the tent, in the bivouac, in the rifle-pits, the men's faith in his consummate generalship never faltered.
On the march his name was more than respected — it was loved; and whenever he appeared, the knapsacks of the boys grew lighter, the step brisk, and the face bright.
It was in this march through the Carolinas I again saw so much of the influence of that presence on the soldiery.
It rained nearly all the time; the roads were horrid, and had to be corduroyed with poles and rails half the way; the wagons and the artillery stuck in the mire hourly, and the soldiers had to drag them out with their own hands.
Every stream had to be bridged, every quagmire filled, and every mile skirmished with the enemy.
There was not a tent in the army.
Even the general slept in the woods, under “plys,” in deserted houses, or lone churches along the way. On right and left, before and behind, was an enemy; quagmires were under foot, and continued rain overhead; yet through all this the boys tugged and fought, and amidst their tugging sang and cheered.
It was the magnetism of one really great man. It was “Billy Sherman
His approach to the line of march was the signal for shoutings that I have heard taken up and repeated for miles ahead.
Riding alongside the regiments struggling through the mud or the underbrush at the roadside, he would often speak to the nearest soldiers with some kind and encouraging word.
Nor was it unusual to hear private soldiers call out to him, knowing his kind heart would give them no rebuff.
At headquarters there; was little pretense, and no show.
When evening came a convenient spot in the woods was usually sought out, a few tent plys were stretched, and a rail fire built in front.
The mess-chest was opened, and a hasty but substantial meal was enjoyed, amid conversation on almost every topic but the war. On this he was oftenest silent, preferring