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[682] General Sherman's positive manner of uttering his opinions had the effect to quiet the apprehensions of some of the officers present, but others were not satisfied. The principal officers of the Third and Fourth Brigades, and Fifth Ohio Cavalry, commanded by a son-in-law of the late President Harrison, were convinced that attack was at hand. Letters written that night by officers could be produced to show the feeling pervading the camp of the Seventy-seventh Ohio. Thus stood matters on that eventful Saturday night. Colonel Hildebrand and myself occupied the same tent; it stood adjacent the primitive little church which was destined to fill so important a page in our country's annals. Colonel Hildebrand, not feeling well, retired early, but I remained up late writing letters, and preparing for the morrow. The men were ordered to stack arms in front of their tents, prepared to advance or repel attack, and that if firing were heard during the night to remain quiet-await the long-roll or bugle-call. Every soldier in the regiment felt that a battle was imminent; in an hour the whole camp was asleep. How unconscious of danger lay the army of the Union that night! Outside of the immediate brigades named, few dreamed of danger; but their visions were of home and the loved ones who looked so fondly for their return; but, alas! how hopeless to thousands, who, that night, slept their last sleep. on earth.

On our front — in the depth of the dark forest-how different the scene.! At midnight, stepping from my tent, beneath the shadow of that quiet church, I listened for a premonition of the coming storm. But all was still save the measured tread of the sentinel, and the gentle whispers of the genial night breeze. No sound came from the distant wood; no camp-fires shed their lurid light against the walls of living green; no drum-beats or bugle-blasts were heard, for quietness reigned by imperious command throughout the rebel camps. Those who slept dreamed of booty and glory, for Beauregard had assured them that they should sleep in the enemy's camp to-morrow night, eat well-baked bread and meat, and drink real coffee. It is also alleged, of the same commander, that he declared he would water his horse on Sunday evening in the Tennessee, or another place where water is supposed not to be very abundant. He did not redeem either of the latter promises, but he did the first. Long before early dawn on that calm, Sabbath morn, the rebel army had breakfasted, and stripped for the bloody work before them. Their blankets, knapsacks, etc., were laid aside, their only incumbrance being their arms, haversacks, and canteens. The latter, it has been asserted, were filled with “powder and whisky,”

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Jesse Hildebrand (2)
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