previous next

[399] without a murmur as a measure of strategy. The movement to attack in McLemore's Cove had been hailed with delight; but the disappointment at its impotent conclusion was keen, and when another disappointment followed on the 13th, and day after day nothing seemed to be done, though every private soldier knew that the fate of the Confederacy was hanging in the balance, then a feeling of depression settled upon the army.

Upon the Confederates, thus foiled and despondent, there arose a beautiful vision. Many before me remember the power, the speed and the gorgeous, cloud-capped brilliancy of the rumors that were sometimes blown on mysterious winds through the Confederate camps. At one critical moment England had recognized the Confederacy; at another, when hope was at its last gasp, a French division 10,000 strong had actually marched into Texas from Mexico. And so the wonderful stories ran, the imagination of the inventor being always equal to any need of encouragement and consolation. Such a rumor now gathered head. Men whispered that Longstreet's corps was coming-nay, had come, from Virginia. Received at first lightly, laughed at by the judicious as another appearance of the old, familiar phantom, I well remember the tumultuous joy when the astonishing portent grew into fact; when men came who had seen and talked with Kershaw and Hood, not ten miles off, and the most skeptical could no longer doubt that on the great day of battle now at hand soldiers of the unconquerable Army of Northern Virginia were to stand side by side with the men of Shiloh and Murfreesboroa.

This is what I ventured to promise as the romantic part of my subject. These troops of Longstreet seemed to have descended out of the heavens, so unexpected was their coming; and the strength they added to Bragg's army was not to be reckoned by their mere numbers, for with them came a flood of that mysterious power, that moral force which brings victory in battle.

But the surprise at Longstreet's appearance was not confined to our camp. It was equally great in the Federal ranks. On the 14th September Rosecrans telegraphed to General Halleck, at Washington, to know whether Bragg had been reinforced from Virginia, and on the 15th Halleck responded that no troops had gone from that quarter to Bragg's army. At that time the heads of Longstreet's columns were arriving. The wonderful secresy of this movement must always give it a remarkable place in military history. Napoleon's descent upon the plain of Marengo was not a greater surprise. The army from which the detachment was made was confronted by the Army of the Potomac,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: