was mainly hoped to stifle the loyalty of this heroic people, had only served to intensify it; and the longhidden National flags that now waved from almost every house and fluttered in so many hands, the bounteous food and refreshment proffered from every side and pressed upon our soldiers without price, by people whose stores were scanty indeed; the cheers, and fond greetings, and happy tears, of the assembled thousands, attested their fervent hope and trust that the National
authority and protection, for which they had prayed and pined through two long, weary years, would never again be expelled from their city.
And it has not been.
The flight of the Rebel
forces from all the points reached by our army in its advance was unexpected, and w.as misconstrued.
So many passes, wherein a regiment and a battery might temporarily repel a corps, had been precipitately abandoned without a shot, as Kingston
were, that it was fondly fancied that the Rebellion
had collapsed — at least, in this quarter — that the recent and signal triumphs of the National
arms at Gettysburg
, Port Hudson
, &c., had taken the heart out of the remaining disunionists; that we had only thenceforth to advance and bloodlessly reclaim all that had been ruthlessly torn away.
It was a great mistake.
was simply withdrawing the Rebel
forces from East Tennessee
to reenforce Bragg
and enable him to overwhelm Rosecrans
; and this facility of recovery should have aroused suspicion, and incited the quickest possible transfer of all but a brigade of Burnside
's army to Chattanooga
In fact, he should have been under Rosecrans
's orders from the outset, and all his movements should have been subordinate to those of the Army of the Cumberland.
When the enemy were found to be retreating southward, they should have been closely pursued; but Burnside
had no superior but Halleck
, who had no conviction of Rosecrans
's peril till it was too late to avert it. And Burnside
himself had no idea of looking