, had won an unmistakable victory; yet all its fruits were reaped on the battle-field.
When he advanced in force,1
and appeared before Chattanooga
, not even the fiercest fire-eater in his camp was anxious to storm those intrenchments, behind which Rosecrans
stood ready to repeat the fearful lesson he gave Price
and Van Dorn
, at Corinth
The victor had the field and the dead (hundreds of whom he inhumanly left to rot unburied) ; but his defeated antagonist had secured the great strategic object of his campaign,2
and was abundantly able to retain and defend it.
being unattainable, Bragg
was urged to anticipate a gigantic, fatal folly in moving by his left across the Tennessee
and advancing on Nashville
He answered, like a soldier and man of sense, that half his army consisted of reenforcements that had joined him just before the recent struggle, without a wagon or an artillery-horse, and that a third of the artillery horses he had were lost on the field.
Then, a formidable river was to be crossed, without pontoons, at a season when any day might see it swelled, amid those steep mountains, out of all possibility of fording.
He might have added that, with a great army on his flank, and in a country where — its railroads being destroyed — the difficulties of an offensive were at best appalling, to have attempted such a movement would have insured his ruin; and rashness was not his weak point.
could not carry the coveted stronghold by storm ; he could not flank it; but he might starve our army out of it. Holding the left bank of the Tennessee
for miles below, he commanded not only the railroads connecting that city with the North and West, and with Middle Tennessee
, but the navigation of the river, with the roads crowded against its banks by the steep mountains which on both sides overshadow it. East Tennessee
affording insufficient forage and little or no food, our supplies must, for the present, be wagoned across the countless mountain ridges separating it from Middle Tennessee
, traversed only by roads of inconceivable badness; and, for a time, our troops were on short allowance, while many thousands of our horses were starved, or worked to death in wagoning over supplies.
, while thus cooped up in Chattanooga
an unheralded order relieving him from command, which he at once obeyed; leaving for the North
next day — just a year having elapsed since he left Corinth
— the theater of his then recent victory — to find himself assigned to command this department.
Deeming it best for the service that he should depart before it was known to the soldiers that he was superseded, he bade adieu to his comrades in the following order: